The color of water


I dreamed about water; my stomach was a dead horse, my breath a heavy cart. I dreamed of water free of salt. I dreamed of springs. I dreamed.
Then I woke.

Bodies moving all around, reeking fright. The gentle rocking of the sea had ceased. Leeward leaning; Silence. The coughing of the engines dead.

We moved as one; towards the padlocked door: Screaming, breaking fingernails.

Water to our ankles,
Water to our waists,
Water filling all the voids, our mouths.

They say color of the sea is blue, for me it’s black.
I am the water. I am the waves.

 © Madison Woods

© Madison Woods

This week I saw the fence and water and could not get the image of the refuge boats in the Mediterranean out of my head, I wanted to write a little bit of chopped up prose (or maybe it’s poetry) that would describe the contrast of the terrible situation better.

An overfull boat

Friday Fictioneers is a group of blogger who each week write 100 word stories based on the same image. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields manage the group that some weeks can be 100 entries. I try to read as many as I can, and I always try to reciprocate commenting visits.



May 6, 2015

69 responses to “The color of water

  1. That was really scary, Bjorn.Your description was so thorough I almost felt I was in that locked room on the boat. It’s horrible what’s happening to many of those people just seeking a better life. — Suzanne

  2. That is such a powerful poem Bjorn and your opening stanza is particularly good in laying down the foundation. Topical poetry is not easy as it can come across as didactic, judgemental or plain naive – you avoid all the traps.

  3. It seems callous to click like after reading such a dark post. Your writing is very powerful. The plight of refugees world wide is appalling.

  4. I was haunted by those images for days and my last week’s post was based on that. You words haunt equally. Powerful image of words!

  5. Great work this week, Bjorn! It has a universal nature to it, tells the story of humanity while playing on our darkest fears. Nicely handled.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  6. Bjorn, I knew who you were writing about before I read the process notes. Those refugees are on my mind every day, and we are praying collectively in our church as well as participating in the collective demand for governmental responsibility. Sure, it’s hard to think of taking in an entire people; but frankly, I live in America, and we are a nation of absolutely, 100% “illegal” immigrants. So I don’t know where Americans get off being critical of the people on those boats.

    You communicate this very political situation without getting into politics and rancor. I applaud you, because you know I cannot do that, and so I alienate folks I’m trying to reach. I admire this quality in your writing above all. Amy

  7. Oh, this is lovely – in a dark and scary way. Nicely done, Bjorn. And thanks for the picture of the people on the boat. I’d not seen one before. The lengths they’re forced to go to!

  8. Excellent. Chilling and when I read the process notes, so sad. Here in the US, we hve a news show, 60 Minutes. They did an article about this but….as the ships move towards Italy based on how they are headed, the Harbor Master was the one talking about the situation. He was so very frustratred because they do not have the resources to help the flood. Syrians fleeing monstrous cruel regime so desperate, they’d rather die on their own trying to escape than be burtchered by iSIS. The harbor Master said they needed help from other countries to deal with these people – medicine, food, clothing….they did their best but there were so many. He also spoke about dealing with the greater problem, namely, the butchering of these people. Heartbreaking. People who were productive, compassionate people now having to many times die, to survive. Your poem expressed it well.

    • Some are fleeing ISIS, many are fleeing the regimes.. many come from Africa.. and many many want to go further on to Sweden, Germany and the UK.. Long term the solution has to be find elsewhere, short term we just have to help.

      • Yes we do. The man sounded so desperate because of the inability to really help. And the article did state many did wish to go further into Europe. Apparently, nobody much wants to come here. I’m surprised the United Nations has not stepped in. The reported spoke to several families who spoke how their lives had been torn apart by ISIS, people gassed, murdered outright. It was heart breaking. One of the women was very pregnant but willing to take the risk.

  9. This was truly horrifying, Bjorn, in that you captured the fear and panic of this sort of situation. It reminded me of the Sewol ferry disaster in Korea a few years ago, where so many people got trapped as the ship capsized. Any sort of marine disaster makes me shudder.
    -David

  10. Such a plight is unimaginable. In the Southwest we have immigrants dying in the desert and suffocating in locked vans trying to get into the U.S., trying to find a better life. Very frightening story.
    Tracey

    Should “the” be “they” in the second to the last sentence? Sorry Rochelle picked on me so I’m taking it out on you. 😉

  11. Very powerful and so well written. Your imagery was perfect and you captured what these poor souls must be feeling beautifully.

  12. Terrifying and without your note your piece took me to the refugees not only of the Mediterranean but also those coming to Australia. The horrors they are escaping are unimaginable when you think of the horrors they are prepared to risk to obtain a new life. That was really well written and and your visual pictures graphic and emotive.

  13. That is a very powerful and emotive poem Björn. To wake up from a dream into a horrible death. The plight of boat people captured well.

  14. What a horrendous and painful way to die. The death of those refugees has haunted me, too. To flee from terrible lives, hoping for liberty and the chance of something better, to then end up in a dark and watery grave, You really have succeeded, Bjorn, getting inside the head of such a refugee during his last terrifying moments.

  15. Very moving. A horrible way to die.
    A terrible situation but you should be proud of this poetic tribute which deserves a wide audience.

  16. I initial thought was a slave boat when I read this story. Most of us live in sheltered little worlds far from this kind of horrible reality. This piece is very humbling.

  17. Wow, Bjorn. this was a really powerful poem. To start with the dream and then to wake up to the terror. I can’t imagine, but you made it so real here. Great work!

  18. Your poem/story captures the horror, the tragedy and desperation of these poor people. It also shows the feeling of unreality and nightmare that the people on these boats must be experiencing. Whatever are we going to do? How is it that our world has become so terrible?

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