Some years ago the coal-mining village of Aberfan, South Wales, was visited by a terrible tragedy when a mountain of coal waste collapsed and buried a school: many children were killed or injured.


I remember it vividly
In black and white,
I was only a child myself
Sitting in front of our
Black and white telly,
Staring at the black and white
Pictures from the buried school;
Firemen in black, policemen
In black, ambulancemen in black,
Miners in black, mothers in black...

... they thought that the beached
Black whale was dead but it was only
Sleeping, until one black day it stirred
And slithered down the hillside
And gobbled up the children...

That's how an old Welsh bard
Might describe that terrible landslide,
An allegorical tale about man's greed
And stupidity and laziness;
But a lethal, lachrymal leviathan
Stole a generation in Aberfan,
And that is the black and white of it.

Chris Fernie, 2006

Poetry by Chris Fernie
Read 412 times
Written on 2006-11-10 at 10:05

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