Ernie Zobole and the Square
Author: Rob Cullen
Written in response to ‘Llwynypia’ Ernest Zobole, (c1953)
Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru – National Museum of Wales
In the beginning there was no square it was just a tram stop. Later on there was a “zebra crossing” on Partridge Square. There were no zebras. The tips overlooking Ynyscynon and Pontrhondda stood higher than the houses. A street lamp stood in the centre of a square that was never a square. The old tin shed Saint Cynon’s Church on one corner never stood on the corner of the square that was never a square. And some people of the square were strangers to reality too. Old man Christmas, a foundling left at the workhouse door that loomed over the square was given a job, lived and died in the place he’d been found that became a hospital. Hospitable. Poor mad Mansel stood directing traffic until he caused too many accidents and was taken away. “Nancy” boy Lewis 6 foot 6 inches and size 6 shoes. A retired copper of a gay persuasion ran the grocery shop on one corner and wrong changed you with a smile. Jack Fish the betting office next door with its black and white sign for dog biscuits on the pine end wall and opaque windows preventing wives looking in to see their husbands laying bets with the milk money. Prim and proper Owen’s Grocers on the other corner and everything weighed to the exact ounce by the thin hands of Deunwen. And the mock Chinese pagoda bus shelter complete with ladies and gents toilets absent too. A square named after a bird that nobody had ever seen on a square that was never a square. In reality a legendary provocation to the tyranny of perspective.