The poem, Aberfan, 1966, was written by 15 year old Natalia Alonzo as part of a school history project inspired by her brother's participation in the choir. We hope you are as moved by the work as we are!
A bird flies by
The morning is neither clear nor crisp
The rain has been awake for awhile now
But the wind and sun are just waking up
Leaving the world still blanketed in fog
As the storm clouds hold firm their control
Children and trees alike stretch their limbs
Preparing for the day to come
They shake their beckoning dreams away
And promise to come back later.
The children trudge through their warm homes in a haze
The thick muggy air makes thinking difficult
Even as they don their coats and backpacks
They stare out the stifling windows in the back seat
At the war in the sky above piles of coal
Mountains big enough to block out the sun
And watch the rain beat down in time to their thoughts
Just enough to sound like it’s trying to get in
And tell them something...
They carry on.
Inside the school
Rough yellow tiles paint the floor
And whispers in hallways turn into lively chatter
As minds and bodies slowly wake up
The children laugh and shout and smile
Their souls are bright with the blissful absence of the world around them
Nothing can touch them here
No one can hurt them here
The thought of something that could dampen those shining lights
Meanwhile the trees know better
They brace themselves
For the coming of something darker than the rain or the clouds
For the black gleaming mounds of coal
Which have a mind of their own.
The wind comes then
It bursts across the horizon
Cresting the tip of the black mountains
Holds itself there
Taking in the humble town below
The birds and insects understand and they go silent
As it attacks.
With a great roar
The black rocks follow the wind on its torrent down
Swooping and swerving
Covering greens and blues and reds
The darkness bats away the trees like an afterthought
And dawns on a little yellow school
Where children in their classrooms hear the unearthly roaring
And look to the windows
Only to see nothing
Until it is upon them.
It engulfs the school
Grasps the children in its unfeeling fists
Blows out those lights with a dead breeze
And just like that
The world got a little darker.
Dead silence replaces where life once was
Nothing breathes or stirs
The seconds tick by endlessly
Until the sun rises above them all at last
Everything comes back to life
But with fewer voices than before
A bird flies by.