The level crossing at Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen



By Oli Devereaux

Translated and contributed by Wyn Evans

Oliver Devereaux was born in Caeglas,Tairgwaith in 1909. He was the youngest of the four children of Thomas and Mary Devereaux.  His mother was the daughter of Dafydd Howells, known as Howells y Bardd. Her brother was the Rev D.J.Howells, a Methodist minister of Brechfa, who was also a well known poet. So Oli 's genes gave him some poetic abilities.In the main he worked as a collier in the Mardy pit G.C.G., the Ynys colliery in Brynamman and the Coed Duon pit in Glanamman.In his spare time he was an amateur boxer, and for a couple of years was captain of the Brynamman rugby team.Unfortunately a serious accident in Coed Duon pit in 1938 ended his mining career. He then worked in various jobs with the local Cooperative Society and stayed with them until he retired at 65. Poetry was his hobby and he wrote some for family and friends.He died in 1983.


Crossin y Waun

If sometime you are travelling
In the direction of the Waun Crossing
Seeing the hosts passing by
The tall,the short, the fat and thin.

The traffic driven from all directions
It's amazing how many are coming
From Tairgwaith, Cwmgors and Brynamman
Flowing down towards Ammanford.

Bus loads from Lampeter, Llandeilo
All pointing towards the "town"
To Mumbles or Langland for sailing
And back to the Waun for tea.

It's worth you looking at leisure
At the seat near the Waun gates
and listen to amusing stories
As well as the puffing of trains.

You will hear about Ianto Jonah
Joe Bancs or Charli Pentip
Jac Sais, Shoni Owen,Will Hannah
Old Pomprem and others on lips

Twm Cole and old Shoni Barbwr
Jac Peps and the boys called the Stakes
Cawdor, Brook and the Dartmoor
The Starch and Put and Take pits.

The tin works the brickworks, Will Ffatri
The old  Pwll y Wrach factory
The Waun band
And choirs big and small.

Pen yr incline and the Company houses
And  the William Jones chip shop
Hear about Ginger Brandy
The fan pit ,the tents and the gyps.

The seats at the Waun crossing
Give topics so numerous
Items so funny and splendid
And those unheard of before

Looking towards the Chemist's shop
A crowd so vast are approaching
With hands full of "scrips"
About  various ailments for curing

It is amazing how many
Of the Waun people are so unhealthy
Rhiwmatics and pneumo coniosis
Beat knee,  laziness and scabs.

It is a sight for a pair of sore eyes
To see the gates firmly shut
Everybody so impatient
Convinced that it is other one's fault

The traffic build up is terrific
Impossible to keep up the count
They stretch from the Cae to capel Siloh
From the gates to well past the Mount.

The drivers are getting so tired
Tempers are rather frayed
To see never ending shunting
Of  engines and the coal trucks

Here like the striking  of a match
In a flash and off they go
Such traffic over the Crossing
To Brynamman and Rhydyfro.

Women with shopping Baskets
To the Butchers they do go
Men running to place bets
Madly puffing smoking cigarettes.

Its a real spiritual tonic
Having a really good time
Spending a leisurely hour
At the old Crossing  y Waun.

There is no need for anyone
To go to Majorca  in Spain
You can get double entertainment
On the seats at Crossin y Waun

"A few ideas that went through my mind as I sat in the car outside the surgery, near the Waun Crossing last Thursday.
I hope that you get the same enjoyment in the reading as I had in the writing." Oli  Devereaux.