The valley’s in my blood still,
Under my skin
Like the blue scars of coal-mapped miners.
Despite the best efforts of Oxford and the BBC
My voice still holds a trace
Of Sunday morning chapel
And Max Boyce.
I come from hills green with rain
It’s the bright days I remember most,
Skin sun-touched as I climbed to the Lion Stone.
The houses seemed so small from there.
I wandered where I liked.
So did the sheep,
Lambing in the doorways of back gardens
And stealing food from bins.
The only road led out
And in the end I took it.
I went back once – back home, I almost said.
I’d grown; the valley hadn’t.
It didn’t fit me any more.
Notes: The prompt-‘ We’d like to challenge you to write a poem of origin. Where are you from? Not just geographically, but emotionally, physically, spiritually?’ The Lion Stone is a local name for the remains of Bodringallt Colliery overlooking Ystrad. When a miner is injured, coal dust in the wound creates blue scars – which is called ‘being mapped.’