Monday, May 2, 2011

The Slag Heap

chose the illustration


I remember Aberfan.
Not that I ever went there.
I only experienced Aberfan
In my mind,
Through descriptive radio words
And newspaper headlines.
It was 1966
And I was in Africa.
The headlines were stark.
'Slag heap collapses on school.
A hundred and sixteen children die'
The mental pictures
Were excrutiating,
The stuff of nightmares.
Did they hear the slag heap groaning
As it stirred itself in its long sleep?
Did they look up from their books
As a dark shadow
Loomed over them?
Did they see the slag heap
Slowly, relentlessly
Bending toward them?
They must have had time to scream.
The valleys of Wales have been greened.
Gone are the days of coal.
But the ghost of a slag-heap
Still looms
Over Aberfan.

Aberfan after the collapse.


No movement of wing, or feather.
Suspended inanimate in the hurtling blue.
Only the blur tells the tale.


Lisa said...

What a great post. I enjoyed your story.


JBinford-Bell said...

Great Magpie. You really took me Aberfan. So sad this bit of history which you made alive again.

Tess Kincaid said...

It's incredible the personal human experiences this painting evokes. Wonderful.

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

bad childhood experiences do haunt.
well done,

jabblog said...

I remember Aberfan, too - a whole generation wiped out. The sorrow in that community may never dissipate.

The Blog of Bee said...

I remember Aberfan - in the days when the news as it happened, didn't come directly into your living room. But the horror of hearing and watching the normal was horrific and left an indelible mark on all those who were around at the time. A good take if a somewhat sad one.

Margaret said...

This just grabbed me! Love this heart wrenching Magpie. ..."They must have had time to cry". Wow.

Kathe W. said...

good post- I remember that horrible disaster.

Maude Lynn said...

Absolutely outstanding Magpie. Chilling.

Kay L. Davies said...

This is amazing, Brenda. I remember the news about Aberfan, and the nightmare quality.
But I love the seagull. I've always loved seagulls.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Martin said...

I remember Aberfan, too, and how we all wept at the TV news pictures.

Reflections said...

Love the sad story shared here, images of nightmares to come... but profoundly shared.

Isabel Doyle said...

Thank you for reminding us of that tragedy. Beautifully written and heartfelt. I liked the seagull too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this sad story in such an eloquent way.

cosmos cami said...

Amazing imagry here.

Your words are a paintbrush.

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Such a horror, and so sad.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Aberfan had slipped from my mind. Your description, beautifully written, recovered it and sent a shiver down my spine.

Anna :o]

Ann Grenier said...

Such horror! I had a great-great uncle who worked in the coal mines of Wales in the late 1800s as a young man before emigrating to the US. Somewhat ironic that the US has the largest amount of recoverable coal in the world - worrisome.You've written a wonderful story.

Steve Isaak said...

Good storytelling piece.