Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Miner’s Poems

Talented students from Oakdale Comprehensive in Blackwood remember the Senghenydd mining disaster in the form of poetry and storytelling with local writer, Patrick Jones.


Just over a 100 years ago, on October 14th 1913, Senghenydd was struck by one of the worst catastrophes to happen in the history of mining in Britain.  Over 430 miners and one rescuer were killed by an explosion caused by rising levels of methane in the pit and electric sparks from the mining machinery. The resulting funerals took over a month to complete.

Patrick Jones, published writer, poet and playwright, and once a pupil of Oakdale Comprehensive himself, worked with gifted and talented students in Year 10 (14-15 years of age). He is proud to be working on a project which he describes as ‘close to his heart’. Brother of Manic Street Preacher’s Nicky Wire, Patrick grew up in Tredegar and has strong ties with the area.


With support from Caerphilly Arts Development, this workshop was a chance for a group of young people to learn more about the history of their region, and be inspired by the places they see every day. The students had a great day, and said that ‘it needed to be done again’. What speaks even more eloquently is what they produced on the day: the beautiful poetry and mature prose of the students themselves.

Here are some examples of their work:

Shovel Hands by Emily Clark

Deeper and Deeper my shovel hands dig,

Through the blackness of the earth’s heart.

In hope of filling my home with heat and life,

To survive this wintery bleak, bleak time.

Deeper and deeper my shovel hands dig,

Through the blackness of the earth’s heart.

Deprived from my dreams, all hope lost,

With no chance of changing my fate.

Deeper and deeper my shovel hands dig,

Through the blackness of the earth’s heart.

Sifting through memories of friends with lives cut short,

Lying besides you in the dirt and dark.

Deeper and deeper my shovel hands dig,

Through the blackness of the earth’s heart.

Looking back at the scenes of my hard and weary life,

Wondering how my dragging time has flown by.

Deeper and deeper my shovel hands dig,

Through the blackness of the earth’s heart.

Into a world where there is a place for childhood,

Hopes and dreams encouraged and loved.

Deeper and deeper my shovel hands dig,

Through the blackness of the earth’s heart.

My life has been plagued by your twisted and devious games,

Yet here I am digging myself deeper.

The Miner’s Wife by Adam Pick

Where are you? Please show your face,

I don’t want to stay here anymore.

I want to believe that you are safe,

I’ll be waiting at home just open the door.

I’ve cooked your favourite meal for you,

Our child is afraid to eat without you.

You’re never this late, I’m thinking of you.

I never told you how much I loved you.

Our Hero by Jasmine Young

While I’m stood here,

Waiting for the news,

If he survived or not,

I begin to cry.

He emerges from the pit,

With a limp body,

He’s placed in front of me,

He lays there lifeless.

Those men  stole him,

They took him away from us,

They took his dreams and innocence.

They took away our hero.

Candles by Miles Aldridge

A flickering hope in a pit full of darkness,

A pit full of death,

A pit full of black,

A pit full of darkness.

Wax slowly melts away,

Like the lives of so many.

The pale wax.

The pale skin.

A flickering hope in a pit full of darkness,

The people’s hope.

False hope, the only light

The white at the end of the tunnel.

The only light,

For which the poor souls do not need,

For they are in eternal darkness.

A flickering hope in a pit full of darkness.

Candle Poem by Katelin Parfitt

 Light of guidance,

In more ways than one.

The way forward in life,

The way forward when gone.

Flickering innocently,

No sign of what was to follow.

Once their flames eventually dies,

The mine will be hollow.

Now they play a different role,

One of grief and sorrow.

Again the are guiding the miners,

But now to a heaven unknown.

Untitled by Taryn Elliott

Here I stand, waiting for you

Not knowing wether you’ll pull through.

How will I feed my baby now,

Now that you’ve taken your final bow

Your baby doesn’t know what’s going on,

Yet it knows somethings has

Gone very wrong

People have gathered

Both rich and poor

As this disaster has brought us together

All the more.

I Blame You by Teigan Rogers

I’m stood here thinking in the open,

Thoughts surrounded by many others,

All scrambling in utter devotion,

To win over our crushed dreams together.

All hoping for the same answer,

Trying with all our might to stop

Traumatizing deaths as: “obsene as cancer”

Ruining our lives through vicious fumes.

Trying to keep control of myself,

I blame it all entirely on you,

The levers on your shelf,

Leads you to turn our work into a heap of darkness.

We Blame You,

They Blame You,

I Blame You.

So Pure by Megan Martindale


Shining in the darkness,

Showing us there is light

Even when the flame goes out.

A little flame,

Brightening up such a big world,

With such a little light,

Almost impossible,

You’d imagine.

Tonyrefail Literacy Festival 2014

DAN  images RHIAN RUFUS 6857283

Following the successful Hands on project in Tonyrefail in February and March 2012, Literature Wales supported the third equally successful Literature Festival in Tonyrefail Leisure Centre sponsored by Tonyrefail Communities First partnership.

Two hundred and twelve pupils from six local schools enjoyed a day of interactive creative writing and sports workshops with Mike Church, Thomas Docherty, Rufus Mufasa, Rhian Edwards, Dan Anthony and Cardiff City Football Community Foundation.

Pupils from Hendreforgan, YGG Tonyrefail, Cwmlai, Tref y Rhug, Tonyrefail and Williamstown Primary schools enjoyed a variety of workshops to increase their enjoyment of creative writing and improve their literacy skills.

Pupils from years 2-4 were entertained with workshops including:

Poetry with Rhian Edwards and Mike Church

Rap workshops with Rufus Mufasa

Drawing and illustration with Thomas Docherty

Fiction and character writing with Dan Anthony

Pupils also enjoyed football sessions with Cardiff City Football in the Community team.

Author profiles:

Mike Church
Performance poet and writer. Ex-Deputy Gead of Headlands, Penarth has worked extensively with children, adolescents and adults.

Dan Anthony
Dan Anthony has written for radio, TV, children and adults. His first children’s books, the Rugby Zombie trilogy, are a big hit with young readers and his work as a scriptwriter on CBBC’s Tracy Beaker show and S4C’s The Baaas inform his popular literacy workshops for schools.

Thomas Docherty
Thomas Docherty is an award winning author and illustrator of children’s picture books. He also spends a lot of his time visiting schools and libraries to help children and adults create their own stories. In 2009 his second book ‘Little Boat’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal.

Rufus Mufasa
Rufus Mufasa is a bilingual rapper, MC, singer songwriter, spoken word poet, comedy writer and performer.  With over ten years experience in playwork, youthwork, community and language development, her workshops are exhilarating and empowering. Rufus is a dramatist, active in raising awareness for young people’s rights, and inspires a passion for language and literature and is amazingly motivational.

Rhian Edwards
Rhian is a poet, musician and workshop coordinator. She has delivered over 300 stage, radio and festival performances world-wide, including BBC Radio 3, Hay-on-Wye, Ledbury, Latitude, the Green Man, the Cheltenham Literary Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She won the Wales Book of the Year Award in 2013.

Francesca Kay
Francesca is experienced in writing poetry for children. She works in schools, libraries, museums , even outdoors. She undertakes day visits to schools as well as longer projects.