Tuesday Poem-Textures

Lately I have been examining texture.

The texture of salt and mud and gravel

of mud mixed with gravel

of mud and gravel mixed with frost

of frost mixed with oil

of oil mixed with seawater

of feathers mixed with oil

of birds mixed with seawater mixed with oil

of people’s gloved hands mixed with oil on seabirds’ feathers.

The delicacy of gills

of gills clagged with oil

of oily beaks and slender oil-pink throats


The thin shredded texture of despair

the texture of truth glistening

as the oil itself glistens.

© Helen McKinlay

I wrote this poem a few months after a deep sea oil drilling rig caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico.  Images abounded at the time.  And then we had our own oil spill for quite different reasons, when the Rena  stranded on Astrolabe Reef.  In preparation for posting the above I returned to the net.  I found this rather artistic and beautifully done short video. It spoke to me more than anything I have yet seen on the topic.


Click on the  link below to return to The Tuesday Blog,  and be amazed at the communal birthday poem, in process of creation by 26 Tuesday Poem bloggers.


12 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem-Textures

  1. Dear Helen, I tend to think that poems, like birds, should avoid the oleaginous affairs of real life trauma. Poems, too, can easily choke and drown when coated in such substances. But your “Textures” is very careful. It dips a wing-tip into the spill, examines the texture with a poetic delicacy (the delicacy of being alive, “of gills”), then soars away in full health.

    Not sure I’m anywhere as successful in my own attempt at a poem about the events of 4/20 (the calendrical synecdoche itself a rebellion against our easy surrender of temporal territory — 1/365th of the calendar year, for G’s sake — to terrorists); but you might find it interesting for its subject matter alone:


    • Thankyou Zireaux for your thoughtful comment. The poem just happened really…when I was actually walking to catch a bus and found myself looking at frost and mud and gravel…as poets do. Of course I was moved by what was happening to the birds and they just appeared…as they do! I shall check out your link 🙂

  2. Hmmm, I really like this one. Lots to think on, lots to feel. I like that it starts in mud and salt and then ends with truth. All those things very elemental and not so simple, either. Very glad I stopped in today.

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