The poor man’s bridge.
village of one valley's edge.
a different place to its root.
arches counted in its viaduct.
have passed like so many trains,
with coal and iron over the rails.
a crossing point, a ford for a few,
place where poor Welsh have passed to and fro.
remains little of an undistinguished past.
will find indifference amongst fewer stores,
the community’s heart has been removed.
came to Wales for the coal.
Irish, English and Scots.
were low and the work hard,
would say dangerous, others not so.
Romans saw fit to build a fort
the hills overlooking this wooded ford.
tribes who wandered or crossed this river
care to arrive quietly and swiftly depart.
the valleys of Wales the
forests were thick.
were narrow and rivers a risk.
may have applied to cross the King’s Road,
those who knew where, bypassed the tax load.
settlement formed to guard the gate,
ford across the Rhymni’s spate.
shipbuilders came and cut down the trees,
the hills bare and free.
fuel of so many rains formed
black rock like gold on the ground.
open cast workings soon exposed
supply of coal dwindled and miners were found.
would burrow and dig deep down
work in the dark in tunnels dust bound.
profit of sweat and blood given no measure
the landowners who merely increased their treasure.
hills were soon gutted and valleys cut deep.
the workings and shafts that the Barons saw fit
convert a land of beauty and once sleek
be broken and maligned by the mines and the pits.
and revolution brought its industry,
serfs and farmers to its misery.
and steam engines came in the wake
progress forward on the backs of the
was set at a price far above
level of ability and earnings of those who should gain.
knowledge of ignorance lost in lives and in pain,
bones, broken minds and with broken bodies spilt blood.
are fewer Chapels and fewer pubs.
that were prominent, Bethlehem, Zoar, Zion and Nazareth now gone.
pubs lost, the Picton, the Railway Inn... the Shanty and the Legion.
that remain are not as well patronized as they once were.
Blast Furnace, The Empire Club, The Lord Nelson Hotel.
contend for its clientele against the home invasion of alcohol,
panacea sold by the Off-License and the grocery store.
and food the variety that draws for some of them.
of either sex are responsible for the warmth of reception.
food is important as is the presentation.
attentiveness of those who serve must be absolute.
is no excuse for shoddiness or dirty cutlery or dishes.
is the pandering to those who will part with their cash.
earned remuneration exists on both sides of the transaction.
gratuity may translate to more than a mere thank you,
without grudge or with it for the sake of keeping face.
are many elsewhere who will entice the local patron.
is known to be a key to sales and repeat business.
those who are unprepared recognize how much they lose?
the door closes there will be another opened most willingly.
Church remains upon its foundation. Anglican, considered by some to be High.
the doors always open and are the pews full?
can be onerous and beyond the need of the observer.
the outer appearance cloth the nakedness of a man's soul?
this village like its counterparts grow again?
does one give sense and purpose to those participating in its life?
coal has no grip on the reality it once held.
a day will come when history will bring rebirth!
George © Jan 8th, 2004