Idris Davies

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Idris Davies (born 6 January 1905 Rhymney, died 6 April 1953), was a Welsh poet, originally writing in Welsh, but later writing exclusively in English. He was the only poet to cover significant events in the early 20th century in the South Wales Valleys and the South Wales coalfield, and from a perspective literally at the coalface.

He is now best known for the poem Bells of Rhymney, later set to music.


He qualified as a teacher through courses at Loughborough College and the University of Nottingham. He took teaching posts in London during the Second World War, and then Wales, returning to the Rhymney Valley in 1947. His second collection of poems was taken by T. S. Eliot for Faber and Faber (1945).

Idris Davies died from abdominal cancer in 1953, aged 48.


A diary entry of his reads: 'I am a socialist. That is why I want as much beauty as possible in our everyday lives, and so I am an enemy of pseudo-poetry and pseudo-art of all kinds. Too many "poets of the Left", as they call themselves, are badly in need of instruction as to the difference between poetry and propaganda....These people should read William Blake on Imagination until they show signs of understanding him. Then the air will be clear again, and the land be, if not full of, fit for song.'

The Bells of Rhymney

Bells of Rhymney is a poem about the failure of the 1926 UK General Strike and the Great Depression in the United Kingdom and their effects on the South Wales coal mining...
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