The price of coal

entry picture



The children were attending, or not, sitting at their desks or not,

On the terrible day of the spoil slip. They may have been thinking

About Halloween but unlikely given the date 21 October 1966

Americana was still at a distance from these south Wales valleys.

More likely the boys would be planning to collect firewood for Bonfire night.

The unforgettable  truth was that 144 people wouldn’t see another day,

Including 116 children, who may have played upon the colliery spoil tip,

Would certainly know it from their collier fathers who had worked at the pit

And piled up the tip for years. The mining engineers knew that the coal tip,

Above the Welsh village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil, overlaid a natural spring.

This it was that caused the slippage after the autumn rains had built-up

Water within the tip. This it was that caused the slurry to so suddenly slide

Slap bang into and over the classrooms which were packed full

Of happy children, only seconds before the deluge. The black and white

Images of disaster soon spread, including into my mam’s front room,

Where, I remember, my socialist father saying: “little kids, paying the price of coal.”






◄ Quasimodo and Esmeralda

Identity theft. ►


Profile image

John Marks

Sun 9th Dec 2018 22:39

Stevie Winwood 'Can't find my way home'. I thought it appropriate. John

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Sun 9th Dec 2018 21:05

History was ahead of me in the Cuba incident but the impact and implications was and is still a cause of sorrow.

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Sun 9th Dec 2018 20:58

John the music is the perfect pitch for this narration.

I am crying once again for the children.

Could you please tell me what this track is called?

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Sun 9th Dec 2018 20:44

John this for me was the first major shift in my boyhood thinking.

To this day this is one of the most painful experiences of my life.

911, Dunblane in 66, Death of Elvis, Dealey Plaza! Bay of pigs.

That kind of magnitude. Well captured my friend.

Does Elvis belong in this list? No not really.

Really insightful piece of writing.

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message