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The Prison

Updated on November 10, 2011

Explanation of the poem

As a process engineer working in the oil and gas industry I have spent quite a bit of time working offshore on oil platforms.

I was on the BP platform, Magnus, in the North Sea when I wrote this poem.

I went to set up a dynamic simulator (which is a computer programme mimicking the processing of the oil and gas from the wells). I was going to stay on the platform for two weeks and I was really excited about the whole experience. The first few days went by quickly. Then I felt the need to exercise and run. So I started going to the gym, but still that was not enough. The second week I found myself taking walks around the platform when weather permitted as it was in November and it could be bitterly cold out there.

On day 10, I remember thinking how do these guys do this for years. I finally understood why when you meet some guys who are just coming back from their 2 weeks offshore, they behave like kids and they all look so happy.

By day 13, I was counting the minutes before I board the helicopter for the 4 hours ride back to land. That's when I went outside and somehow got the inspiration to write this poem, which is dedicated to all those guys who give up half of their lives (they miss out on being there for their partners and kids).

It is really a very strange feeling to be wandering on the platform with no land in sight. What makes it worst is knowing that if something goes wrong, help is very far away. It is different from being on a ship, because with the platform you are not going anywhere.

Before writing the poem I was talking to the guys at dinner the night before and I said that I was starting to feel like I was in prison and then someone told me that the UK government were talking to big operators like BP about the possibility of turning these platforms into prisons with minimum contact with land. Just the thought of these platforms being real prisons made me feel terrible.

But, luckily as far as I am aware this project will not go ahead.

The air reaches me unevenly

As I look far into the distance

I try to imagine the curvature of the earth

Beyond what we call the horizon

The hot air has become unbearable

They must be burning more gas

But I am determined

I am not going back in yet

I have to keep my sanity

I walk on to the other side

The chilly November breeze assaults me

I find myself looking into the distance once again

No sign of land

Only deep blue sea and the horizon

Ah but the western sky is different

A hint of gold suggests the setting sun

Beneath layers of menacing clouds

Tomorrow I am leaving this prison


Once all the oil and gas are gone

From underneath the seabed

This platform will be turned into a prison.


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    • Scarface1300 profile image


      6 years ago

      Cool Piece I loved it...........Chris

    • Chaya Parmessur profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaya Parmessur 

      7 years ago from FRANCE

      Vinaya, that's a very good point about the fact that we are all caught up in our own prison! Is there a comment "voted up" button?

      Frank, thanks for your very witty comment! Comment voted up as well!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 years ago from Shelton

      This was ( and excuse the pun ) Captivating :) Frank

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      7 years ago from Nepal

      Prison is a metaphor I have often used in my writings. I see people apprehended in prison, the prison of their desires, pain and suffering, and of course restlessness as you have written in your another poem.

    • Chaya Parmessur profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaya Parmessur 

      7 years ago from FRANCE

      Thanks for your comment RedElf! There are so many inspirations out there! And we do find them in the strangest places.

    • RedElf profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      Well, I am glad you spent the 14 days there if only because it led you to create this poem. The idea of incarcerating criminals on a disused oil rig is unsettling, to say the least.


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