a poem by Rachel Carney in response to photographs of the Phurnacite Plant at Abercwmboi, taken by Hans Hoyer
Ignore the dirt and clamour,
try not to cough, just wait
for the clouds to slip away,
for sunlight to soften each grey belch
of noxious steam, the charred and
twisted carcass of each decaying tree,
so you can transform this roar
of industry into a tranquil scene.
Reflections on the writing process
“I was mesmerised by the beauty of these two photographs taken by Hans Hoyer (he spent time documenting the life and industry of the Cynon Valley during the 1960s). Yet they capture something that was raucous, dirty and polluting – an industrial landscape that is now difficult to imagine.
I began by writing ‘Ugly Beauty’ at the top of the page, and the rest of the poem followed, as I tried to capture the contradiction of that initial thought. I decided to call it ‘metamorphosis’ as it implies a complete transformation, from the clatter and roar of industry to the beauty and silence of a photograph.”
You can read more about Han Hoyer’s photography on a blog post written by one of the Museum’s volunteers.
About the Virtual Poet in Residence
This poem is part of a series written during the Coronavirus pandemic, in response to online exhibitions, and blog post research undertaken by artists and volunteers in partnership with Cynon Valley Museum. You can read more of Rachel Carney’s work during this residency over on the Poet in Residence page. Rachel is a poet, book blogger and PhD student, and she’s also spent several years working in museums. Her PhD research explores the benefits of using creative writing in art museums, and she’s particularly interested in examining the writing process. You can find out more about her work and PhD on her blog.
The Cynon Valley Museum Trust, like so many others during this pandemic, have suffered a loss of income. We are working hard behind the scenes to fundraise as well as provide options to explore the Cynon valley’s heritage, art, and culture, through projects such as this Residency. If you enjoyed this and would like to support us more, please consider making a donation. You can do so by following this link.