Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A chronological survey of the viability of coalmining at Abernant

Depth: 0 years 2006

Kites circle the landfill tip
Lorries bring waste from far away
The surface sheds make rusting homes
To workshops and short-lived stores
The tidal swarm of miners gone

Depth: 20 years 1986

Hands, deep grimed with coal,
Clap for warmth on the picket line
Shoulder to donkey-jacketed shoulder,
The strikers bar the gateway
Matched by a fluorescent line of police

The scabs arrive in a tatty bus
Met by a storm of jeers and threats
Heads bowed, they pass through
To their lonely shift

Depth: 40 years 1966

A new era of mining dawns
Well engineered, gleaming,
In fresh new buildings
A workforce trained and keen
The promise of coal
A dream of prosperity and purpose

Depth: 60 years 1946

White eyes in black faces
Blinking in the daylight
A cacophony of accents
Bevan Boys from Scotland and Kent
Leaven the local voices
Trudging out of the pit
Exhausted by victory

Depth: 80 years 1926

Striking against pay-cuts
The Feds and Communists
Are joined by their colleagues

Some, penniless, dig pirate mines
To heat their threadbare homes

Depth: 100 years 1906

Smoke fills the valley
A wailing whistle and hiss
The first train heads for Swansea
Heavy with lumps of anthracite
Waved on its way with cheers

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