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Cockles and Muscles

August 9, 2011

bent in supplication,
scrabbling deep in clogging mud for

Backs turned to thieving tidal rush
on glooming Warton Sands:
deluged with no

in Morecambe Bay –
sandals, skin, hot sinews
float; shantung silk on rippling grey.


[ This poem is based on a tragedy that occurred in 2004, not far from my home, in which 21 cockle-pickers were drowned. ]

This post is linked to a great community of sharing poets: Drop in and see what wonders are on show..

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  1. I love the way you paint the scenario so completely with these small fragments of images, these few poignant words. Very, very powerful.

  2. Hi Siubhan… welcome and thank you for your kind words… appreciate it.

  3. Your words paint a nice image. Makes me wonder how they drowned.

  4. I’ve commented on this in three places Becky (which seems kind of appropriate as it’s a triple cinquain) and if you post it anywhere else, I warn you, I’ll find it and shall comment on it again, it’s that good!

    This form really does seem to suit your style of writing and your ability to pare a piece down to it’s essence. The sad desperation of trying to make a living just to survive, paying the ultimate price due to negligence and slave labour. A tight, poignant piece.

    shantung silk on rippling grey – stunning visual.

    • Oh Julie… thanks for stalking this one… it’s close to my heart this, too close for comfort. Felt the tight form would help pin it down..

      Really appreciate your support and encouragement… and the constant spin of form and wordsmithery you produce…

  5. this sounds just horrible becky…you managed to paint a tragedy before my eyes in just three tight stanzas…tight and poignant write becky

    • Yes, Claudia…awful thing.. this one had to be stark.

      Appreciate your words of support… dVerse an exciting place to be…

  6. hedgewitch permalink

    You brought this tragedy into vivid focus, almost too vivid. Horrific, and very well-penned. The last lines especially are evocative, sobering and make for a total stomp of a finish.

  7. Thanks for dropping in and leaving your response… do value your thoughts…

  8. silk & jetsam…very nice description…how sad so many were taken at once…

  9. Agree with all the above comments – the tragedies of late and their accompanying pictures, the tsunami, the earthquake in Japan, sudden death so quick, so shocking and sobering. Quite brilliant writing, Becky. Gay

    • Yes, sobering… you’re right… Thanks so much for reading, Gay… and for your kind words of encouragement

  10. Sharp and tragic images here…Well done ~

  11. Hi Becky

    Being familiar with this tragedy – i can still remember the sense of utter shock and sadness it provoked.

    I have to say you do the subject justice which is not an easy thing to do. This is something myself and Anna have been contemplating tonight – must be something in the beer!

    An excellent Job – superb form – brave take on a stark and strident subject.

  12. penned it right till the end… i like how you nailed this one into its very potential.. adorable!

  13. Thanks, Arron…. those treacherous sands… but worse, the treacherous gangmasters who ’employed’ these poor people..

    I did find this tight form a great discipline for the subject…

    Synchronicity eh…?

  14. Very vivid and very well done.

  15. emma permalink

    Becky, you’re a master at cinquian. Every one of these that I have read by you has been brilliant. I really like the distanced narrator in this one, like I said before it’s an interesting way of handling the story. Tragic, and you’ve captured it here so well with minimal words. Pared down perfection!

    • Well, Emma, I really appreciate that… this form does seem to suit many of the themes I want to explore… Thanks for reading again!

  16. Your tight, direct style serve this piece well. The last stanza so vividly evokes imagery, you don’t need illustration.

  17. A wonderful journey to far away places!

  18. Aida permalink

    Hi Becky,
    I feel the tide and the tragedy it has brought. Great write!

  19. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave your thoughts..

  20. Appreciate the back story, I enjoyed the poem on its own merit, filled with well lined imagery, then to know the prompt added the extra emotion to carry it to the heart. Very well done ~ Rose

    • Rose.. thanks for your comments. I’m never sure whether providing more details is a good idea.. feel poems should stand on their own, but also apprecaite a little extra info myself at times. Good to see you here…

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