This poem was kindly sent to me by John Wilson an ex-Swffryd boy now living in 

The Swffryd Today
The winds still blow along the terraces and gullies high up on Swffryd Hill. 
The sun still shines on the window ledges where at night rest men in drunken slumber 
dreaming of the black depths below, where brotherhood thrived and diseases grew 
 in lungs that in the clubs heaved in melodious hue. 

Women still sit on the bank looking, but now at a scene so changed, for where horse 
and cart once crossed the narrow bridge and miners trudged to the Navigation, 
and where shops and a cinema stood inviting, now stands a concrete mass.  
A vile progress across a village heart, to take trade and commerce, it is said, so crass. 
But where is the work for those miners proud, who could claw black tons from the 
Is it to be making lampshades perhaps? or packing pot noodles? Is that their worth? 

Where is the heart of the village now?, and where is the pride too?, 
is it any wonder that the Red Dragons flounder when passion and strength are flew! 
Can green hills and valley satisfy the heart and stomach of colliers, 
who wore blue scars like battle honours and who now sit coughing and worrying 
their time will come to rest on Brynithel hill in holes dug by other men. 

And where is the Viaduct, so famous and tall? 
What act of vandals has lost us our thrall? 
Never again to see the sunlight glinting on those iron legs 
How did we allow it, the question begs. 
No homecoming welcome when travelling the valley 
Just foot down hard on the pedal, no need to dally. 

What can be seen now as we pass the white church, looking to Swffryd without the 
big bridge? 
Still see the piers standing high up on the ridge 
And further see quarry where men dug out stone 
Now empty and quiet, awaiting toxic waste, that will leave Swffryd ugly like some 
old crone. 

Where is the cricket and soccer played now? not down the bank or above the Llan 
the bank's overgrown and houses are built where Sharpie once strode, 
followed by children the hilltop to climb. 
But today it is difficult, you see, houses in way and no-one has time! 
Television rules and Bingo too, what would say Frederick, fingering his belt? 
What a comedown for the passionate Celt! 

But why so morose?  the future's fine, that concrete mass brings jobs and coal, 
all that is needed is patience and dole. 
Gone is the dust and the sun tans instead, much better the health, tho' the dust takes 
its toll. 
Sons not in danger from disasters below, though watch the roads, congested they are, 
Can't see the valley from parlour you see, too many cars parked, can't see so far! 

Driving from motorway, three hours away, bypassing villages, through green valley 
Into view a wondrous sight, the Swffryd, alight with spring sunshining tone. 
Look up at the terrace and dream you can see, a little old lady a-looking for you. 
Tear up the road, past sad tunnel, and up, until into Rectory you safely arrive. 
Speed down the incline and sharp round the bend, to find, not a lady 
but bush by and by; for the bank is now heavy with bush, flower and tree shady 
though look more closely and glass and tin cans still you will see, 
not quite the place for to slide, you nor me! 

So, no Clara, no viaduct, nor Navigation too, but still is the Swffryd our root that will 
still here next Millennium, despite Nature and man, you'll see. 
Looking over the Ebbw and smiling grandly, 
for the Swffryd is  rock, set in Cambrian Sea, lording the Valley so changed below. 
Sitting calmly above, welcoming you in with a warming hello. 

John Wilson 1998