How Black Were Our Valleys – Commemorating 30 years since the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike

Natalie Butts-Thompson and Deborah Price

Natalie Butts-Thompson and Deborah Price

All profits from the sale of the book go to The South Wales Area – Miners’ Beneficiary Fund.  The books is to be launched at Big Pit Blaenavon on Saturday 5th April 2014.  Starting at 11am there is a day of Commemoration including The Red Choir.

How Black Were Our Valleys for blog

Read more about the book here…


Working Class Heroes – Commemorating 30 years since The 1984/85 Miners’ Strike

Back in 1984 the miners fought their own cold war

Secret documents now unfold

The truth at last it will be told.

It’s 30 years since that debilitating strike

When Dai and Phil and Ron and Mike

Fought every day for one whole year,

Families in poverty and fear.

To starve them back to work she tried

Stopping benefits for which they applied,

Sequestering funds from the NUM

She divided the country into us and them.

She called them ‘The enemy within’

Let them cast the first stone who is without sin.

Pit closures were what they wanted to prevent,

To save what they had, so they could pay the rent.

They travelled the country picketing for their rights,

‘Coal not Dole’ their slogan emphasised their fight.

Up each day at 3am,

Hard working heroes, real men,

With their women’s support, on they fought,

United above, as they were when underground.

Now she’s joined the miners, at last she’s in the ground,

But the legacy of destruction prevails all around,

Empty pits, face value tips,

Community spirit no more,

All because that evil bitch, shut the mine doors.

Dharma11 18th Feb 2014

The Neglected Bookshelf

Neglected Book-tile


The Neglected Bookshelf

 I recall a time when you breathed life into these pages,

Now, a battle weary Battalion leaning to the left

And to the right,

Unable to raise their weapons to attract your attention.

Neglected leaves, dusty and decaying, still bursting with

Mysteries and knowledge, but no more sought after or revered.

Imagination and Inspiration replaced by Indignation!

A sacrilegious succession of upgrades and technological advancements that know all!

How can we compete?

Buddha sits cross-legged in tangerine robes, pondering Ptolemy’s never changing map.

Unfinished Revolution, silent, beside Rogue Nation.

Nostradamus’s never ending Journey of Self Discovery.

The Serial Killers, Mystical Murders that are Beyond Belief with only a Sole Survivor.

The Dead Sea Scrolls adjoin City of Revelation, whilst The Red Ripper is Hunting the Devil.

Arthur Koestler’s Sleepwalkers enter The World of Copernicus – Breakthrough – The Scarman Report has Total Surveillance.

The Uninvited Spirit plagues Astral Doorways whilst The Good Spell Book tries to offer its protection.

Perhaps The Tarot of The Bohemians can foretell a better future for us or The Wisdom of The Mystic Masters re-ignite your desire.



Dharma11 Jan 2013

‘Winter Wonderland’ – A Seasonal Poem by Dharma

Winter Wonderland

 Robin Rspb

Red Robin Breasted Beauty, Bright, Beaked Blackbird,

Feathered  Flyers Feed on Fat Balls,

Sweet Songs Sung on Boughs, Bowed, Bare and Barren,

Berries Buried in Frosty Fauna,

Nature’s Nurture, Nuts,

Nibbling Squirrel sits on Stash, Safe, Secure,

Leaves left Lying, Lazily Lamenting Summer Sunshine,

Wintry Winds Whispers, Feeling Fresh,

Misty Morning, Cockerel’s Crowing.

Hedgehog’s Hibernate in Hidden Camouflaged Chambers

an Underground Utopia of Velveteen Voles, Mice, Moles Miniature

Mounds, Mountainous, Moorlands where Woolly White Sheep Stray.

Mystic Moon, Deep Darkness,

Fox Flashes Fiery Fur.

Owls Oratory Hoot Hoot, Twit Twoo.

Pale Pink Heathers, Holly, Prickly, Pines Pointing at Pondering Skies,

Sublime Storms lit by Lightening, Fearsome, Ferocious, Frightening.

Lakeland Life, Ducks Dive, Heron Hunts,

Silently Salmon Swims as Snakelike River Rushes, Roaring.

Many Magical Mistletoe Secretly Snatched Kisses Kept.

Dharma 11 Dec 2013

School For Hedgehogs – Last Book in the Hedgehog Trilogy

Finally, the last book in the hedgehog trilogy will be available on Amazon by Monday 11th November, which just happens to be Baarbaara’s 102′nd birthday.

Happy Birthday

 Summer is here, the weather is warm,

fourteen baby hedgehogs, have just been born.

 Itchee & Harriet gave birth today,

A celebration of life is on its way.

 Two little nests made from

Sheeps’ wool & leaves,

With fourteen soft skinned babies

enjoying the breeze.

 Their prickles will develop later in the day,

Then harden into proper spikes to keep them from prey.

 Tiny feet complete with claws,

 Little milk teeth

and very strong jaws.

In a few weeks they’ll go

hunting with their Mums,

foraging slugs and worms on their nightly runs.

This is what the baby hedgehogs look like after just three weeks……

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Devil’s Bridge – Ceredigion in Photographs and Prose

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An old folk tale relating to Devil’s Bridge or Bridge on the Mynach in Ceredigion.

The Devil’s Bridge is the lower of three bridges spanning the falls and the river Mynach below.  The story goes that the Devil himself built the bridge as a ploy to harness an old lady’s soul.  The old lady’s cow had wandered across the river when it was low, to eat the lush green grass on the other side.  The Devil who just happened to be holidaying in Wales at that time, offered to build her a bridge in order to retrieve her, now very fat cow.

However, there was a condition attached to his kindly offer.  He said that he would build the bridge if he was allowed to take the first soul that crossed it.  The old lady agreed, but thought it strange, until she realised that he was expecting her soul.

The next day the bridge was built and as the Devil rubbed his hands in glee across the opposite side, the old lady threw a crust of Bara Brith onto the bridge, which her dog promptly followed.  The Devil was outraged, and extremely embarrassed at being outwitted by the old Welsh lady and vowed never, to return to Wales.  In a way he was quite glad because every time he came it always rained and he hated rain.


This is my experience of The Devil’s Bridge and Falls………


The Promised Land

A journey up the mountain,

A steam train from ages past,

Puff, Puff, Puff,

A wondrous experience, if you have no fear of heights.

The Valley below shrinks as we chug higher,

Spectacular views invade my eyes,

Sickness invades my stomach,

Palms clammy, shivering,

Temperature continues to drop rapidly.

It’s summer in Wales,

In picturesque Ceredigion we sport T-Shirts and Jeans,

Artic clothing more appropriate now.

The children had poured excitedly into the open carriages,

Like sheep we’d followed suit.

‘Best seats behind the engine’ the black-hearted drivers shout,

Your fate is sealed.

Laughing their hot steaming rocks off, as a veil of hail descends upon the train.

We are greeted at the summit by mist and a torrent of icy rain.

Just one hour to see the promised vista,

We follow the steep and slippery paths down to the Devil’s punchbowl.

It is certainly beautiful, made more so by the sun now shyly peeping through.

There is a scramble to return to our awaiting carriage, you do not want to get stranded here.

Seated comfortably, the journey down begins,

Warm rays caressing the protective window panes.


Dharma 11

29th August 2013




Showcasing Sianna Reader’s First Poetry Book

Sianna's BookSianna’s first book of poetry is now available on Amazon

Here is a taster, this is my favourite  poem from the book, it is very emotional,

but what a wonderful tribute to her late Grandad.

Old Man

“A final goodbye to my grandfather…”


So you follow me old man, wild man,

You with your musky scent,

Soft smile, blue eyes.

You have followed me always haven’t you?

You my teacher, my friend, my old man.

Oh how I miss you, sweet breeze.

To the mountains you took and how

they loved you and truly cared.

They praised your name,

They celebrated each stride you took.

You were their master, their Lord

and how fine a ruler you were!

With the wind you went and led

and I, the little child would run

and laugh and ask and learn.

I saw how your eyes would dance,

You glowed with pride to see me understand.

I glowed too, just to be with you.

Faithful paws trailed you old man,

Four brown paws big and wolfish.

How the Goddess of Beauty adored you

with her lapping tongue and happy fleas.

She misses you, stubborn sir

as you missed each that ruled before her.

The seasons came as swift as wind

and with each you aged like I.

Mountain man you were named,

Like you were an infinite force,

You were not infinite! You were old!

My friend. Just mine.

You loved best the fluffy white ones,

And when they brought their young

you grew protective of their bleats.

Perhaps you did not love them best.

You loved me, sweet man.

You loved our laughs, our fights, our talks.

Silver haired gent, you saw so much.

You tasted the devilish liquid,

You felt its bitter bite, how it beckoned.

But you felt pain, you walked amongst rubble.

You held the limp forms of children.

You! The hero! My hero!

Ageing father, time flies too fast

and your strides became shorter.

Oh how I wish I could’ve stopped it.

I would’ve gladly taken your pain.

Stubborn man, you wouldn’t have seen me hurt,

but love my friend, knows no limits.

To see you waste away each day,

I felt as though I’d die with you.

No speech left your lips soon, only mutters,

but your eyes still danced,

and I danced inside to see you.

Blue eyes, like wild skies.

The world broke the day you left,

the mountains cried, the white ones too,

but it was my heart that shattered

and my soul that sobbed so hard.

Oh I need you and always will.

Old man, why did you go?

The men of medicine could no nothing.

Your body just had to waste away,

Sometimes I swallow and think of you.

In the end you couldn’t swallow.

In the end you couldn’t even move.

In the end your heart rested and paused…

…and never stopped pausing…

So God took you even though I cried.

When I asked why, he couldn’t answer

and neither could you old man.

You stopped talking the day you left

even though the mountains still cry

and the Goddess of Beauty still pines.

I kept asking God, “where is my Grandpa?”

No answer. No text. No message. No letter.

I tried to find you, really, I did “

But how can you find he who does not exist?

How can you talk when no one replies?

You can’t. It doesn’t work that way.

Life stopped for some time, when you died,

I stopped somewhere along the way, that day.

My light flickered. My heart paused and restarted.

A part of me wanted my heart to keep pausing.

I imagined what it would be like to walk with you

above the clouds instead of in the grass.

One day, I strolled the hills and they

were silent, mourning their lost Lord.

I reached the top and looked out.

My home looked back and somewhere

old man, you looked back too.

I learnt something that day, it’s true.

I asked God, “where is my Grandpa?”

He answered even though we have issues.

He answered, “your grandpa’s in you.”

And the wind cried and I cried

and the mountains whispered your name

and I knew, I really knew, you followed me.

So you follow me old man, wild man.

You with your musky scent,

Soft smile, blue eyes.

You have followed me always, haven’t you?

You my teacher, my friend, my old man.

Oh how I miss you, sweet breeze.