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
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.
Thank you, I’m glad you liked the poem. I had a slight panic with this as I hit publish and wordpress crashed. Thought I’d lost the poem entirely.
Carol, this moves so swiftly from image to image, with urgency, really love the resolution with the child calling to his mother.
There’s such a powerful sense of urgency to this, the rapid rhythm pounds forward. Works very well.
Thank you Sarah. I was trying to write something a little different to my norm and I’m quite happy with the end result
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.
Indeed. I wanted that sense of innocence but also the pull for explanation from the parent
If more parents explained through example, we might get somewhere.
Potent imagery and pulling the child into the mix as witness is a pivotal stroke in your portrait.
Thank you. Once I added the child there wasn’t any other way the poem could go.
What a strong sad image you paint here Carol – and sadly, too accurate to ignore.
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).
Wow, this is full of powerful imagery. Well done!
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
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.
The younger generations are perhaps the world’s greatest hope.
Those oil slicks with their rainbow colors should make us all stop and think!
loved the line of the little child breaking the rainbow window with his finger!
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’.
Thank you Kim.
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.
Thank you Mish. This is one of those poems that I was really please with once it was complete.