Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An UNFINISHED Journal Quilt: Oil Spill--Vale/Veil of Tears

On Friday, May 7, on the front page of the New York Times this photograph of the oil spill caught my eye.  I cut the picture out and pinned it to my bulletin board.  Every day since I've looked at it, amazed at its beauty, horrified by what it depicts.  I knew that eventually I'd base a journal quilt on that photo. 

I've assembled the quilt, but it is unfinished.  I've not sewn down the appliques.  It's not been "sandwiched" with the batting and backing.  It's not been quilted.  But since I am leaving day after tomorrow for Arkansas, I wanted to get it posted and will eventually post an update.  Unable to sleep last night, I worked on it then.  Earlier in the day, thinking about how I was going to construct the quilt, I made up a poem based on it.  So, first the quilt; then the poem.

Here is my poem:

Oil Spill:  Vale/Veil of Tears

She weeps, Mother Earth—
She weeps for the birds of the air
And the fish of the sea.
Mother Earth cries for the
Men who can no longer go down to the sea in ships
To cast their nets.
She weeps for the white sands, now dark with sludge.
From afar this spill of oil is beautiful—
Its colors, the colors of a sunset.
But the beauty is deceptive.
Close up, noxious fumes sicken men,
Kill innocent wild things.
So in this vale of tears,
We, too, like Mother Earth,
See through a veil of tears.


  1. Wow, Alice, you chose the perfect fabric for your ideas and how good of you to take on the topic and a poem as well. Having just made an ugly quilt I appreciate that yours is beautiful altho on an ugly happening.
    Again, I appreciate your color and depth of field. That will be fun to finish to put up on the wall. Good for you to share now!

  2. Excellent quilt and excellent poem. Often horrifying things are beautiful from afar. This morning on CNN one of the reporters was walking along a Louisiana beach pointing out lines of oil coming ashore. I was thinking that there is oil like that coming ashore every day on the fine white sands of the Mediterranian beaches of Egypt. The oil is due, it is said,to oil tankers washing out their insides off the coast.

  3. Alice, the poem or the quilt? Both are excellent reminders of what is happening to our Gulf Coast. I think I choose the poem because the words express a feeling as deep as the ocean and remind me of the great opposite lyric poems in literature - Coleridge? Blake? Baird?