Where The Water Breaks #DVersePoets #TuesdayPoetics

There’s a sheen to the water,

a swirl of slick, slurp, sludge

squirming up the beach

surfing old tidal rips

to suck down feathered flurries,

their bone stuck wings

submerged to make stones

with panicked beady eyes,

staring up at a surface


startled starlings swooping

in a grey choked sky

and a small child

with a face still plump young,

trying to break the glass

with one fat finger,

all the while calling

for his mother to come

and look.




  1. AH, it’s so powerful how you define this sight with a quick pace and intricate image patterns, which speaks to me of its urgency. I love this bit, particularly the s-sounds and alliteration: “a swirl of slick, slurp, sludge/squirming up the beach/surfing old tidal rips/to suck down feathered flurries”.
    Through the eyes of a child, it becomes such a potent image.


  2. And by the time the child is big enough to know what he’s looking at…what will be left to look at? Good poem. Our children don’t deserve what we’re foisting upon them.


  3. A powerful write, lots of excellent word-smithing. When I came to the end, where the child tries to break the glass/, for me the poem became allegorical (break the glass in case of fire).


  4. I too admire that scene with the small child in the ending. I hope the child will grow up to learn what is happening to his world.


  5. I agree with Sarah about the sense of urgency in your poem, Carol. The opening lines create a clear picture of the ‘swirl of slick, slurp, sludge’ – great use of sibilance by the way! We have palm oil on Norfolk beaches which has not just affected birds and other sea life but also dogs – some have died after ingesting some of the sludge. I like the way you create an image of a sludge monster with ‘squirming up the beach / surfing old tidal rips’.


  6. Wow, so nicely done. The alliteration and word choices really added to the intensity and urgency of the scene. I like the way it builds up to the innocent curiosity of the child. What a vivid and disturbing image.


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