Black Death Re-visits

For Carolee’s Big Tent prompt to write about the oil spill, or to freewrite about the impossibility of writing about the oil spill.  This effusion emerged from my freewrite.

Black Death revisits 



The soup of time endlessly re-invents itself,
shape shifting, scrabbling at the call of avarice,
of filth and clog and crumble;
gawbies,* inured to scandal, slopping heavy wings
in the presence of the apocalyptic.

Silence will greet us with death’s negligence
as we mourn the wicked end of species and of beauty.
Who will remain to marvel at the miracle of the ordinary?
The future flaps fruitlessly towards us,
with silent clogged gullet.



All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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22 Responses to Black Death Re-visits

  1. I was not writing poetry when the Horizon spill happened. But this one off of Brazil raised my feathers. Love your take on this subject Viv. Thanks for pointing me this way.


  2. Heartbreaking…those last lines are all need be said.


  3. The poem creates a great foreboding atmosphere. I particularly like the sounds of “filth and clog and crumble”.


  4. Erin says:

    Your images are dense and heavy, like oil. They also brilliantly express the thick futility of all of this.


  5. Rallentanda says:

    Idiots….good ending! Like the negative nihilist mood…like expressionist art.


  6. nan says:

    Very strong. Excellent poem.


  7. vivinfrance says:

    I am overwhelmed by all your kind remarks and appreciation of my poem. Events deeply shocking provoke strong reactions, resulting in sometimes visceral poetry. I haven’t yet read all the poems on this prompt (we have house guests) but those I have read so far have been emotional and vivid.

    Thank you all for taking the trouble to comment.


  8. Tumblewords says:

    Fine words and thoughts. Gawbies is an apt description to describe those who muck about.


  9. Very powerful poem Viv, love the last two lines.


  10. I like the idea of ‘the soup of time re-invents itself’. Excellent poem!


  11. Absolutely brilliant, and awakening of the sick void I feel in my stomach about the oil spill. Your final lines (The future flaps fruitlessly towards us,/with silent clogged gullet) arrested me, then reached in and tapped on that void. Indeed, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with…nothing.

    I can’t say anything more.



  12. b_y says:

    strong stuff.
    Love the opening line, and “Who will remain to marvel at the miracle of the ordinary?”
    wonderful photo.


  13. 1sojournal says:

    Great response, imagery is clear, concise, and I most heartily agree about the freewrite. It is a fantastic tool.



  14. brenda w says:

    Brilliant, Viv…you were cutting off my air there, for a minute! idiots, indeed.


  15. mark says:

    This flows like the creeping crud that is the oil spill…

    Grabbed hold and would not let go and I’m with Carolee…gawbies is a great word.


  16. pamela says:

    Viv wonderfully written piece!


  17. Carolee says:

    gawbies is a great word! i love the way it sounds!


  18. Mary says:

    Viv, this is excellent. The last two lines are so powerful that I can almost feel myself choking!


  19. systematicweasel says:

    The tool of free writing is something that is lost on most, if not all, of us. Thanks to the prompt, I think I’ll free write more often. A wonderfully written piece! I love how you used “Gawbies” instead of idiots in this one. The word Idiot is starting to become overused in today’s times. Great work! Thanks for sharing!



  20. Marianne says:

    Your first line is superb, Viv! Sets the tone for the rest of this amazing poem! One of my favorites for this challenge!


  21. Stan Ski says:

    You must have spent quite some time on the freewrite to produce this brilliant piece.


    • vivinfrance says:

      Thankyou, Stan. I’d forgotten how useful a tool is a freewrite, and am grateful to Carolee for reminding me. A mind map also can be a very fruitful exercise.


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