Documentary Poetry

In the late 1960s United Kingdom's first major oil finds were discovered in The North Sea. In the '70s surging development began. By the late '80s the U.K. became the world's 2nd largest off-shore oil producer. An ever flowing river of men cascaded to and
worked for liquid gold. For gold, be it liquid or solid, men have always taken risks, against all odds, against nature, against all warnings.

The metre of "Obituary in Oil" replicates the ever present thump of the engines  on the rigs.

Obituary in Oil by Magda Palmer Cordingley.

The oil rigger's body sprawled over a pipe; a great hole gaped in his skull;

He thought and he saw and he knew of his plight, as did the marauding gull.

His soul joined the bird to borrow its wings to hover above the frame

Of the body, whose toil had come to an end, of the oil man without a name.


This worker had come amongst thousands of others, frustrated with life's meagre food,

Hunger had drawn him to North Sea rigs; hoping money may buy some good.

The soul-harnessed seagull flew down to the man-to the Roughneck who lay where he fell,

Great pride filled the chest of the bird through the soul who knew in this man he did dwell.


Then through the gull's eyes the soul saw the grids above where his old home lay;

The grids that spanned the void underneath with the sea eighty feet away.

This hero’s farewell had no choir or bed, iced air and no voices made Sartrean hell;

Cables and chains entangled his boots, and his hard hat for safety?  A broken shell.


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