Tipping – After Aberfan by Oonah V Joslin

They’d been making a joke it see,

was the worst. If you keep tipping

there boy, you’ll end up

in the Co-op! If you keep tipping

there boy, you’ll end up

in the Con Club. If you keep tipping

there boy, you’ll end up 

in Merthyr! If you keep tipping

 

But of course they kept tipping because

it was for coal, see. Because

it was for work, see. Because

people need coal and work

and people need money

and money makes the world go round

see?

 

The natural spring that had been

for years welling up inside

shifted and the massive slick of dirt and slag

slid down its own flanks

malevolent as some black October trick.

No natural autumn leaves,

such a stain, such affliction

 

wrought by the National Coal Board

upon the innocent dead

being dug out to be buried.

Truth is that people need to survive to man and womanhood;

that we need to heed warning on past lips.

The joke’s on us

If we keep tipping

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