Mining Disasters...Songs and Poetry.

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Jan 02, 2021, 13:05

Mining Disasters.

Welsh poets have always evoked or stirred inner feelings with most people. They are heart-rending disasters and breed horrific sadness.

Idris Davies wrote a poem from Gwalia Deserta (Wasteland of Wales).

The coal mines of Wales, were terrible places and invoked much feeling.

Richard Burton came from this background and had family still there when he was alive and he tells of the adverse conditions he lived in as a little boy. He often visited them.

Davis wrote the poem “The Bells of Rhymney”

Gwalia Deserta XV

O what can you give me?
Say the sad bells of Rhymney.

Is there hope for the future?
Cry the brown bells of Merthyr.

Who made the mineowner?
Say the black bells of Rhondda.

And who robbed the miner?
Cry the grim bells of Blaina.

They will plunder willy-nilly,
Say the bells of Caerphilly.

They have fangs, they have teeth
Shout the loud bells of Neath.

To the south, things are sullen,
Say the pink bells of Brecon.

Even God is uneasy,
Say the moist bells of Swansea.

Put the vandals in court
Cry the bells of Newport.

All would be well if — if — if —
Say the green bells of Cardiff.

Why so worried, sisters, why
Sing the silver bells of Wye.

This was put to song many years later by “The Byrds”

It’s quite a good number and has a stirring message, in fact it’s in mho better than Mr Tamborine Man.


Dylan Thomas also wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night” which is about “the night” meaning, I'm inclined to think, if poetic licence is permitted, some ghastly blackness ie the South Wales coal mines that stretched through Swansea to Pembrokeshire and Camarrthen in the west. At times he often probed the depths of human despair and misery.. There are many that thought he was refering to death itself or that of his dying father and he probably was meaning both but he often built in subcosciousness matter that conflict with longing back to his pastorial youth and his love for the countryside. Thomas was very complex. Unlike Auden and Yeats, he sometimes spent a day to a week to write one line of poetry...there was a huge amount of thought and poetic effort he put into his poems. 

He used tliterary devices to illuminate the theme of the poem. Thomas's use of personification synecdoche, and metonymy helped contribute to the overall meaning of the poem.


One of the greatests poets ever, brilliant, sadly he was self destructive and drank himself to death.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Other mining disasters have attracted music as well.


The BeeGees sang “New York Mining Disaster 1941" although not in Wales, it brings out the tragic consequences of mining disasters. In the past SA has had it’s fair share too.

Jan 02, 2021, 16:52

"The BeeGees sang “New York Mining Disaster” in 1941 . . ."

They did? In 1941?

Not sure which Beegees Tit is babbling on about here but not one of the famous Beegees (Barry Robin and Mauruce) were born in 1941.

Jan 02, 2021, 17:25

Again you are quick to jump in the wrong bus...the disaster was in 1941...not the recording OBVIOUSLY...hahahaha.

Jan 02, 2021, 17:47


Jan 02, 2021, 17:48

Recorded in 1967.

Jan 02, 2021, 23:27

"The BeeGees sang “New York Mining Disaster” in 1941 . . ."

I think any reasonably intelligent person knows what that is saying.

What a moron!

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