What’s it like in the valleys, boys?

Is the grass still green,

Between the lumps of iron and coal?


Are the grave stones grey,

Or do they shine like onyx,

No longer covered by soot?


Tired eyes see clouded mountain tops,

Tired hands are clasped in prayer,

Tired knees are bent in agony.


The men and the boys stand idle,

Jobless, linger on corners,

Or sup away in the pub, quiet like.


What is it like in the valleys, Boys?

I remember the hilltops,

Covered with fern and moss.


The sheep wandered at will,

Wild ponies grazed and remained still,

Watching, as we passed silently by.


The skies, whether blue, or gray,

Would be speckled with the cry,

Of all manner of birds, often including the curlew.


The southern valleys reflected little in its rivers,

Or streams, which were often dirty,

From industrial pollution.


There were dales nestled in secluded spots,

In other parts of Wales, cleaner,

Refreshingly peaceful and beautiful.


The harmony of voices might be heard,

From the singing at the heart of many men,

Where a brotherhood was joined in chorus.


The lament of the miner,

Has been expressed in song;

Many sang to tell of the pain of their labour,


The boys who now sing do not feel the call,

Of the spirit, the redeemer of misery,

Both earthly and unrewarding.


Listen to the voice you hear!

The expression of face and vocal picture,

Lack the sincerity and articulation of the humble.


The standards required of the most civilized,

Are not evident and are withheld,

Setting no example or height to aspire to!


The valleys may be reborn,

But they will never contain the hearts,

They once held, or which held them!


What’s it like in the valleys boys?

Life bends its head in shame,

Waiting for its release and freedom.


The mountain tops carry their dew;

The tears of fathers and brothers,

Who no longer can hear their tune.


The mothers and sisters, lovers and wives,

Likewise held their heads up high,

Straining to know their truth did not lie.


The blood of the valley has run,

Its course now long finished,

By a changing style to the choral verse.



May 27th. 1996 © Will George.


Will George Poet