Will George Poet

Ode to Abertysswg


I remember when I was a boy, I played in Abertysswg.

My friends and I roamed the streets from the village green,

down to the tip, kicked cans as though first league footballers.

We passed row houses, neat and tidy in presentation,

where the front step, or steps, was often scrubbed,

the doors painted, the windows cleaned with vinegar and water,

and the gardens well kept by most, within reason.


As we passed, Mrs. Evans or Mrs. Jones whispered to Ms. Williams or Mrs. Davies.

In the Welsh way, learned from Chapel, hand cupped to the mouth, as tho to keep the words sacred.

Could it be out of ignorance or merely from bad manners and was it the same throughout Wales?

"Y neb sydd ganddo glustiau i wrandaw, gwrandawed."

Those days were sunny, clouded perhaps, yet I do not remember the rain.

Laughter resounded amongst friends on small unimportant things.

Aunties were visited and sometimes tea provided.


Evan was his usual self! Loud, gregarious, flamboyant even.

He seemed to enjoy his work. Conductor-Ticket collector, on the buses.

Charlie Hills... not the Red and White or Western Welch.

The buses run without him and those like him these days.

Uniforms carried authority and some who wore them cared.

Vandalism took place then too, it would seem to be a result of depravity.


What was lacking then? What is lacking now?

Corrupted minds are senseless, the resulting action from a lack of pride.

Those who were culprit robbed their own communities, their people and themselves.

Abertysswg has a history that dates back hundreds of years.

Like most villages in Wales founded to serve the Pit.

The Mclaren Colliery, coal mine, in 1895, owned by the Tredegar Coal Company.

And in life in this village so there was death, as in the explosion of Thursday, September 4th. 1902.

It claimed fifteen then, many more before and after, for the price of coal.


The village has changed somewhat! A new community centre of modest design,

 warm and spacious offers much, is no longer an eyesore weatherbeaten.

The houses that formed the streets such as Charles Street, Hill Road and the Mclaren Row remain.

They look like the many other houses in as many other mining villages.

Perhaps Abertysswg may be the womb, from wherewithin a new life may be born.

Minds may search for knowledge and language might show result

and Wales might once more resound with the understanding and truth of being Welsh.


Will George

December 12, 2003