Upper Swansea Valley
by Len Ley

From Caerlan, Ystradgynlais, in the Swansea Valley, the long ridge of Cribarth has the remarkable appearance of a reclining figure. Known locally as "The Sleeping Giant" this image was the starting point for Mr Ley's poem about the valley and its people


Sleeping giant - slumber well,
Beneath thy feet the hobs of hell
Are fed by treasure black and buried deep,
And men that sweat and bear their lot,
Seeking wealth that they'll know not,
Little heed the one who tolls the bell
And bear their lot.
  In the valley farther South
Fires spout from furnace mouth,
And some are fed a diet of guilt and fear
No drink, no song - nor another's bed,
These are for the easily led,
Not they that stir the spitting Puddler's pot.
And bear their lot.
  Dust like cold gets everywhere,
The bed, the lungs and in the hair, 
But washing's not a lighter shade of grey.
Some children skip, others run,
Full of life that's just begun,
Whilst mothers watch with love and some despair
And bear their lot.
  Fire and brimstone light the sky,
Above the ones who live to die,
In fervent hope of better times to come.
The noise, the smoke, the spitting flame,
Call out that life is not a game,
And offer little comfort to the weak
Who bear their lot. 
  Hope soars with the running child,
Of thoughts still free and hearts still wild,
To dream and yet not lose the common thread.
To spell, to count, to read anew,
Those matters known to just a few. 
The aim of those who seek a way ahead,
Not bear their lot.