Aberfan, 1966 (the poem by Natalia Alanzo)

 
Along with an orchestra of 40 players and 4 additional soloists, this was the choir that presented Cantata  Memoria: For the Children of Aberfan in its third ever performance, 26 February, 2017.

Along with an orchestra of 40 players and 4 additional soloists, this was the choir that presented Cantata
 Memoria: For the Children of Aberfan
in its third ever performance, 26 February, 2017.

 

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!

Aberfan, 1966

Natalia Alonzo

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

Pit-pat-pit-pat

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

Impossible.

 

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

It dives

The black rocks follow the wind on its torrent down

Swooping and swerving

Covering greens and blues and reds

Now black

The darkness bats away the trees like an afterthought

Tramples houses

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.