Sunday, September 10, 2006


Some events imprint themselves on your memory.
Aberfan was the first such memory for me, even though I could have been no more than 7 or 8.
My father had worked down the Merthyr Vale pit during the war, the pit which produced the dust which went on the tip which slipped and killed a whole generation of children.
I just remember it being a dark dark day, my mother crying, my father going to take things needed to a depot.
And being aware that if I had gone to school that day in Aberfan, I would not have come home.

Coming out of the lecture theatre to be told "there's been a terrible accident"
Only hearing accounts till I got home then watching in tears and horror as people fell to their death, were crushed by the falling towers.

For what?

No words to answer, just Max Boyce's poem on Aberfan.
Wherever we are tomorrow, let us bow our heads and remember all those whose autumns came too soon.

A shy fragile leaf now greens
In a bright and plastic room
On tender stems it offers forth
To cast its earthen womb
Fed by a valley's tears
That watched it leaf and grow
To tell of ones that sleep the night
In Aberfan below

One day those sleepy flowers
Will leave that sunsealed land
And wink away the night
That no one understands
To tell us why that summer fades
In a single afternoon
And why that day in Aberfan
Did autumn come too soon.


Rosa_Mystica said...

My gosh, I cannot even begin to imagine what that must have been like for you (*hug*).

I'm glad you're here with us today.


Cat said...

We weren't living in Aberfan at that time- my father only stayed there in the war and ended up living where we do now.
But it was actually something my mother said to me, I think to try and explain to me about what was happening.
She said if we were in school at Aberfan, my older brother would have survived but me and my younger brother would now be dead.
It stuck in my mind I think...
And it brings to mind John Donne's words..
"No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
On this day 5 years ago, the bells tolled for us all...