Ralph Jones


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Can you possibly imagine, being no more than a child?
To be pulled from your bed, and dragged off to work as you cried
At an age where all you want to do is play
Not to be dragged down a coal mine, for a pittance of pay

Used in seams so damp, wet and narrow
Where even the pit ponies wouldn’t go
Crawling on your hands and knees, harnessed like an animal
Soaking with sweat, clothes ripped to shreds. Is this natural?

Or left all alone for hours on end, guarding the ventilation doors!
Alone, for ten hours or more?
In the darkness, silence and gloom, the time seems endless
The cold, biting into the young bones, terrified, scared witless

Childhood, the most important years!
They should be cherished, not sent down a mine in tears
Shackled to a coal haulage implement, in places so wet and so low
Clinging on with fingers bruised and bleeding, scared to let go

Some working fourteen hours a day, seeing very little day light
Dragged off to work in the middle of the night
Coming home, sometimes with little to eat or a place to bathe!
Their young lives passing them by, to the mines they were slaves

The coal mines, where the word safety didn’t exist
Many of the children, to be put on an early deceased list
Children taken to the mines by their father
Fathers mostly unable to read or write, never knowing any better

The families were all very poor
If they don’t work, no money was coming through the door
Sometimes the whole family went to work in the mines!
Still they barely survived, even when their money was combined

The younger children who worked there
Would be pushing the heavy wooden tubs of coal, often in pairs
Back breaking work for those so young
Pushing heavy tubs of coal to pit bottom, not out playing having fun

The hurriers harnessed to the tubs, like small pit ponies
Thrusters, pushing from behind, children hands so small and bony
Children, many catching illness’s, they were unable to be saved
These children, who had no childhood, destined for an early grave

A life where puberty can be thwarted
Legs, knees, spines and feet horribly distorted
Girls, who develop pelvic deformities
That could later life cause childbearing difficulties?

Collapse of the digestive organs was also common
Diseases of the heart, causing inflammation
Stomach pains, cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting
Caused by contaminated water drinking

Those who were lucky enough to survive, by God’s grace
Would be sent to work in the coal face
Working with a candle or a safety lamp
Hot, cramped, squalid conditions, many perishing with the firedamp

Firedamp or methane, call it what you may
No taste, no smell, but in a flash, it would take you away The
silent killer, always lurking in the coal mines
No mercy, no warning, not understood in Victorian times

So, as you watch your children playing happily in the sun
Try to imagine these children, lives over barely before it’s begun
Sitting in the cold and the damp, behind wooden doors
Dark, dinghy, foul smelling, sitting on a sodden dirty floor

Waiting all day in the dark, as a door keep
Frightened to fall asleep
If they did, they may be beaten, and their meagre pay docked
Just sitting in the boredom, waiting for the door to be knocked

Victorian times, where the factories were flourishing
Where the workers were like slaves, working for next to nothing
Those days, when there was no such thing as electricity
Where coal was a much sought-after commodity

And the mine owners were quick to see
Give the parents a job, the children work almost free!
The mine owners generating vast wealth
Not caring about the worker’s health

Uneducated people to them, only fit to work underground
Cheap labour to them, with very little work to be found
Except the mines and the factories, all owned by the paymasters
Living in depressing squalor. The paymasters houses full of laughter

Where children on the Sunday, the Lords day, day of rest
Would stay in their beds, not go out to play, they had no energy left
The modern day mines we thought, were hard and uncompromising
Nothing like the Hell these children endured, not living, just existing

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The challenge ©R.K.Jones2193

By Ralph Jones, 2020-11-23

Sunday morning a day of solitude and creativity
Alone but not alone, at home with my privacy
I listen to a young woman’s voice
A rich mellifluous voice, in which many will rejoice

I sit at my desk, filled with ineffable sadness
Trying to imagine people living in loneliness
People in a lonely uninhabited place
Where you can see the sadness in their face

The young woman’s lyrical, melodic tone tells of isolation
Of people living in desperation
People who have to live alone in seclusion
Some mentally unstable, in a state of confusion

Not seeing another person, since who knows when
Wondering if they will ever see someone again
The rich tone of her voice, mellow and euphonious
As the plight of confinement, reaches out to us

Confinement that can lead to paranoid delusion
Clinical depression, anxiety and illusions
As the young woman continues to relate to us
An ineffable beauty descends upon us

But these words of indescribable beauty
Are really a lament of brutal reality
Of how people are being let down
In our own cities and towns

People, who are being forced to live in isolation
As a viral infection causes untold devastation
People who are being forced to self-isolate
Elderly people who need help, before it’s too late

As I look at the images of masks and coffin lids
Again and again she talks of Covid
A virus causing people to isolate behind four walls
A virus that we must tackle, before it kills us all

So, as the mellifluous voice may be sweet on the ear
It is also makes it ineffably clear
That if we don’t challenge this viral infection
We face the prospect of more solitude and isolation

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Our Hero

By Ralph Jones, 2020-04-20

For context / ar gyfer cyd-destun ( as though it were necessary) 

Coronavirus: Capt Tom Moore's NHS fundraiser hits £17m

Our Hero ©R.K.Jones2193

In this time of a global pandemic
Can we take the time to thank a man, most heroic?
A man, whose name you hear everywhere you go
A man by the name of, Captain Tom Moore

Captain Tom as he is known, is a war veteran
He is also almost a centurion
A man who knows, of the horrors of war
We can only imagine the things that he saw

But this incredible man
Put all this behind him, and he hatched a plan
His aim, a hundred laps of his garden to walk around!
Before his 100th birthday, to raise a thousand pounds

A thousand pounds, which he would have called a success
To donate to the brave and glorious NHS
But what this man has achieved
Has to be seen to be believed

Not in his wildest dreams
Would Captain Tom imagine what his gesture would mean
People took him to their hearts
And his fundraising effort, people willingly took part

Soon, a thousand pounds was increased tenfold
As the stories of his heroics in the media were told
And soon the figures reached a million, and even more
And the nation was all celebrating Captain Tom Moore

At ninety-nine years of age
He is dominating the newspapers front page
The hearts of our nation, he has won
As he has turned his mission, into a phenomenon

A mission of mercy, for all to see
He is now deservedly, an A-list celebrity
And all this , with a smile on his face
And our NHS, is now in a far better place

So, let us all salute Captain Tom Moore
Our hero, who has raised millions galore
A man, who in these darkest of days
Looked this virus in the eye and led the way

Showing the spirit that that we all need right now
The spirit that Captain Tom, is showing us how
This man, our hero, so humble, so brave
To our NHS it's more than money that he gave

In his bravery, he has given us hope, a reason to smile
A reason to fight, and is doing it in style
With his medals proudly worn over his left breast
Medals awarded for his military quests

Is there room for one medal more?
For the incredible Captain Tom Moore
Although he may tell you it is not done for glory
But in years to come, shall we ever forget his story

A hundred laps of his garden, all for a good cause
And all because!
He wanted to give something to charity
Heroes like this, we seldomly see?

Now his self-imposed challenge, is over and done
But the adulation of our hero has only just begun
The champion of our nation, that must truly be understood
If there is any justice or compassion, he must receive a Knighthood.

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television interview

By Ralph Jones, 2014-03-08

ralph jones on news week Wales Sunday 9th March 11.30 am

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the silent wheels

By Ralph Jones, 2014-01-10

wheels.jpg Any ex pats involved in the 84/85 miners strike if there is the silent wheels might bring you a few memories.A comical and true version

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