Thursday 30 March 2023

song of the Welsh rivers

I will upset your tummy,
Sing the sad waters of Rhymney
We’re awash with your poo
Cries the brown tide of Ebbw
And whose fault is it really?
Purrs the urbane Ely
They think we’re all daft
Snarl the weirs on the Taff
We must stop them, we must
Call the torrents of the Usk
But be quick, or we die
Sigh the pools of the Wye

I was cycling along the bank of the Bristol Avon near Bradford on Avon the other day, and saw some dense clumps of yellow-brown foam floating downstream, or caught in the branches of a fallen tree. Turdbergs, from the sewage outfall a few miles upstream. I commented that it reminded me  of the Ebbw in South Wales, the river I lived close by and which ran alongside my school, and whose colour changed several times in the course of  the day depending on who or what was discharging into it. There was also an untreated sewage outfall just downstream of the shool. This was in the 70s, and it had got a lot cleaner in more recent years. But a friend who lives up the valley from there tells me that the bad old ways are back.

So I wrote this, based, of course, on Idris Davies' poem The Bells of Rhymney. You can find it, with others of his, in this post here


  1. It is bad, everywhere.
    I think of the effect of chicken farming on the Wye...

    1. It is shocking. It wasn't that long ago that I used to canoe and swim in the Wye, and now it's utterly poisoned...