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Folklore: Aberfan, Blantyre & tragedies

bradfordian 13 Oct 10 - 09:52 AM
bradfordian 20 Oct 10 - 05:18 AM
GUEST 20 Oct 13 - 10:23 AM
Paul Burke 20 Oct 13 - 03:06 PM
Leadfingers 20 Oct 13 - 03:38 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Aberfan, Blantyre & tragedies
From: bradfordian
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 09:52 AM

Around the world there are terrible events most days. We get to know about them quickly because of modern communications systems. And we are affected by them because we know about them in our time. The ones which occur nearer our home or ones where we may have had relatives, friends, or friends of friends affect us even more so, obviously. One such event has stuck in my mind is the tragedy at Aberfan. On last years anniversary -2009- I read out the words of a song -- it seemed to wash over most people. This year thanks to the kind offices of one of our number (he knows who he is ,but I'm sure he's far too modest to take any credit) I shall sing the song which is called GREY OCTOBER which parallels Aberfan and Thuy Dan in Vietnam on 21st October 1966.

Interestingly, 22nd October is the anniversary of the BLANTYRE mining tragedy (1877). Now it appears to me that "we" do not generally acknowledge this event. This of course happened before any of us were born. Which brings me back to Aberfan, very much in my mind, being over the age of 50; but for the people under 50 (and outsiders) maybe less than 25% of "us" would be able to relate to the Aberfan tragedy. In twenty or thirty years time Aberfan would become just another forgotten disaster like Blantyre.

I was just wondering what your views are on this kind of situation, how the passing of time affects our relationship to tragic events, and how song helps connect us to events. EG, I sing Hughie Jones "ELLAN VANNIN" and thus I feel a connection.

brad (in philosophical mood)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Aberfan, Blantyre & tragedies
From: bradfordian
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:18 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Aberfan, Blantyre & tragedies
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 13 - 10:23 AM

A few of you may wish to take a moment to reflect on this 21 October 1966 event in Aberfan, Wales, this being the 47th anniversary


Here are a couple of poems and links to others.

http://www.hiraeth.org.uk/aberfan/tributes.html

http://welshcoalmines.co.uk/poems/the_distracted_miner.htm#aberfan

http://www.poetrybay.com/fall08/jordon.html

http://www.67notout.com/2010/03/dreams-and-precognition-of-aberfan.html

On Visiting the Memorial Garden in Aberfan

Playing 'Alleys' in the
School yard
And swapping cards from
Packs of tea
And on their walk to school
That day
They were very much
Like me.

Although I never
knew them
And could not count them
Friend
Remembering that
October day
I shall carry to
My end

The News Broadcast told
The story
Of school friends
Far away
Of how their story
Ended
That grey October
Day

Oh Mother Father was it
Worth it?
Those few extra watts
Of power
Enough to put the
Kettle on
Or keep the lights on for
An hour?

Oh Mother father was it
Worth it
To pile that tip
So high
To keep the home fires
Burning
Did these children have
To die?

As I sit here and
Remember
And feel that cold
Wind's blow
This six year old
She weeps again
And it's forty-five years
Ago

I remember they found
The Register
I remember Bulldozers
And Lights
I remember the anguished
Waiting
Rescuers working through
The night

In school next day, our prayers
We said
Not by habit or by
Rote
But for our fallen
Comrades
Their loss so keenly
Felt

I've lived a life since that
Day on
Learned things they could
Have known
Oh I'd love to come and tell
Them of
All the things I've seen
And done.

But I can only sit here
Quietly
And weep for long
Ago
Oh mother father was it
Worth it
This grey stone plaque says
'No!'

(from here: http://www.67notout.com/2010/03/dreams-and-precognition-of-aberfan.html)
=============================
Aberfan's Disaster 1966

All things bright and beautiful
The children sang in school,
Voices rang in harmony,
A few they played the fool.
Who could guess that come day's end
Dead would be nearly all;
That one of seven coal tips
Would down the mountain fall.
Young lives so full of promise
Like flowers just in bud,
The whole young population
Wiped out with coal black mud.
Aberfan that dreadful day
Was known throughout the land,
As the place where laughter stopped; none could understand.
Coal black sludge had buried them
Flowing like a stream,
So fast and without warning,
It was no use to scream.
Children with their teachers died,
Their innocence cruelly slain,
Reporters broke down and cried,
At scenes of grief and pain.
Ne'er before had people witnessed
Such a nightmarish scene,
Right there in their living room,
Shown on their TV screen.
They listened to the stories
That the survivors told;
They had to rebuild their lives,
Tales that made blood run cold.
For torment is not over,
The National Coal Board,
Took from the disaster fund
To move six tips that soared
High above the village
Where they should never have been;
Money given by millions
For bereaved was never seen.
Some feel that a debt is owed,
And what a price was paid,
One hundred and forty four
Coffins in graves were laid.
The children that were missing,
For years so few to play,
Aberfan is thriving now
But they'll never forget that day!

Posted here: http://www.creative-poems.com/poem.php?id=56389&textmode=0 by "Rainbow"

Author's Notes: "This was triggered after a programme on the TV about misadventures. I remember the actual day well and the vivid horrific pictures beamed into our living room".

bradfordian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Aberfan, Blantyre & tragedies
From: Paul Burke
Date: 20 Oct 13 - 03:06 PM

Guest:

I'm not Welsh or from a mining community, and I knew nobody that died that day. But like you, anything that touches Aberfan I find almost unbearable. When kids at school told Auschwitz jokes, I'd respond with an Aberfan joke (they existed) and that generaly shut them up.

Close the Coalhouse door, lads, there's bairns inside...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Aberfan, Blantyre & tragedies
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Oct 13 - 03:38 PM

Put Aberfan in the search box and you will find a LOT of threads and several songs posted about the Aberfan disaster


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