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'Sospan Fach' - by Robert Graves...

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aber-fan View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 March 2018 at 3:32pm
Whilst surfing the net about the topic of the Welch Regiment's goat, I came across some previously unknown references (to me) to Welsh soldiers in WW1. One surprising link led me to a poem by Robert Graves (probably best known for his historical novels such as I, Claudius and his autobiography Goodbye to all that - both excellent, BTW). His poem shows some knowledge of Welsh culture (he served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers), but I'm not convinced that denizens of Ebbw Vale would have agreed to sing our song:

SOSPAN FACH by ROBERT GRAVES *(The Little Saucepan)* Four collier lads from Ebbw Vale Took shelter from a shower of hail, And there beneath a spreading tree Attuned their mouths to harmony. With smiling joy on every face Two warbled tenor, two sang bass, And while the leaves above them hissed with Rough hail, they started 'Aberystwyth'. Old Parry's hymn, triumphant, rich, They chanted through with even pitch, Till at the end of their grand noise I called: 'Give us the "Sospan" boys!' Who knows a tune so soft, so strong, So pitiful as that 'Saucepan' song For exiled hope, despaired desire Of lost souls for their cottage fire? Then low at first with gathering sound Rose their four voices, smooth and round, Till back went Time: once more I stood With Fusiliers in Mametz Wood. Fierce burned the sun, yet cheeks were pale, For ice hail they had leaden hail; In that fine forest, green and big, There stayed unbroken not one twig. They sang, they swore, they plunged in haste, Stumbling and shouting through the waste; The little 'Saucepan' flamed on high, Emblem of hope and ease gone by. Rough pit-boys from the coaly South, They sang, even in the cannon's mouth; Like Sunday's chapel, Monday's inn, The death-trap sounded with their din. * * * * * The storm blows over, Sun comes out, The choir breaks up with jest and shout, With what relief I watch them part--- Another note would break my heart!
I share no-one's ideas. I have my own.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote totallybiasedscarlet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 April 2018 at 11:29pm
Robert Graves was an admirer of the Welsh soldiers in WW1 and often wrote in warm terms about them. Missus Biased just doing a module on war poetry in uni. Interesting stuff.
"If it's on, we back our skills and our confidence ... We've got some great players, play a good brand and we enjoy doing it." Ken Owens
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