Life in complicated times.


It was this place, in those days, those years

Rivers ran blackened as night in the valley

And opened coke oven doors lit the sky red

And green fields drowned in spit black spoil

It was this place where slow hunger and poverty

Stamped down, slammed its feet on the ground.

Children starved and mouths slept empty

Soup kitchens fed families hunger thinned

This place, this place where malnutrition and disease

Looked through every door, every window

And men marched to great cities to plead

Assistance for so many in a time of great need.

Men marched the length, the breadth of the country

And met the slit cold closed eyes of indifference

She told the stories of those days those years

And when it was her time to pack, to leave

She was small, just fourteen years of age

She was a small child travelling as a stranger

In those greyed days of the great depression

Think of a child travelling from a valley

To work in a grand bankers Chelsea Mansion

She spoke of survival, the cruel vicious lips

The vindictive unsmiling eyed housekeeper

Just because she couldn’t speak words of Welsh.

She worked as a maid for a florin, a few pennies

To send back home to her family in the valley

To support her parents, her brothers, her sisters

And in that she was like so many valley children

In that time, in that place in those years.


Excerpt from long poem.

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