It’s very difficult to find words for Aberfan.
In the midst of the deepest revision, I realized this question, how do you have words for such tragedy? Should I use any lyrics at all? If I did (for there are memories, and attempts to tell the story), the words themselves must be like the event, scattered, broken phrases.
Here are the words that I used, excised from my mother’s lyric.
In the small Welsh town of Aberfan
for days the rain did fall
down on the heart —
Little children of Aberfan in their school that day
the big, coal mountain —
They worked with their picks all through the day
dug with their shovels and hands
kept on digging kept on digging kept on digging —
(Original song, c 1966, Dinny Siersema)
Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax deductible. Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.