The village of Fochriw grunts among the higher hills;
The dwellings of miners and pigeons and pigs
Cluster around the little grey war memorial.
The sun brings glitter to the long street roofs
And the crawling promontories of slag,
The sun makes the pitwheels to shine,
And praise be to the sun, the great unselfish sun,
The sun that shone on Plato's shoulders,
That dazzles with light the Taj Mahal.
The same sun shone on the first mine-owner,
On the vigorous builder of this brown village,
And praise be to the impartial sun.
He had no hand in the bruising of valleys,
He had no line in the vigorous builder's plans,
He had no voice in the fixing of wages,
He was the blameless one.
And he smiles on the village this morning,
He smiles on the far-off grave of the vigorous builder,
On the ivied mansion of the first mine-owner,
On the pigeon lofts and the Labour Exchange,
And he smiles as only the innocent can.
Poems by Glenys Coggan (1924 - )
This poem is about the old Fochriw Colliery buildings which were left in a ruinous state following the colliery’s closure in 1924 and which became an unofficial adventure playground for children from my mother’s generation to mine during the 1950’s. Penpwlla being the coloquial Welsh for Pen Pwllau - Top of the Pits
Someone tugged at Johnny's hand
The game was'n't going as he'd planned
Knuckles white and face so ashened
No one would find them if something happened
Under pipes he had to squeeze
The dust inside made him sneeze
The gang had all gone in before
He had to follow them and so
In an old boiler stinking foul air
Musty, dark, did anyone care?
He was nervous playing in this place
There were other dangers he would face