A Forgiving Reef
2018, High School, Poetry
A wonderful color, this white can be.
The washing of waves, the whispering death,
A graveyard found amidst an arcane sea.
Untimely, a creature breathes its last breath.
Fish waltzing, dancing, and waiting around—
Amongst white pillars, cavities of bone,
Wishing and wanting for life to be found,
But to no avail, for they are alone.
Sounds from strange sea, sizzling, sizzling—
The summer sun remains relentlessly.
Though dark and wet, it’s dry and blistering,
A bleak, tropical hell, made carelessly.
It’s stifling, this eternal damnation.
How luring this haunted place has become—
A whitewashed craft, lost abomination,
Fevered ghost town, population undone.
Cold and unending, death is merciless
An unfurling wildfire, an uttered malediction,
Spreading plague, ghostly metamorphosis.
We made our fate, an assured affliction.
From water we come, to water returned,
From the torpid abyss, a hesitant wink.
It isn’t too late, though perhaps unearned,
Coral is forgiving, bring it back from the brink.
Often when people think of climate change, they think of its gradual progression. Though the Earth’s ocean only warming by a couple degrees in a few decades is extremely significant, it does not give the average person a sense of urgency. The one issue that I think demonstrates the effect that climate change can have on our oceans in a discernible way is the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The warming temperatures of the Coral Sea has caused at least a third of its coral communities to die off, and if climate change continues, the effects could potentially be irreversible. I chose to do my poem on this issue to allow the reader to understand the urgency behind preventing climate change. My poem was greatly influenced by Seamus Heaney, specifically his poem “Follower.” His use of meter to mimic the sound of his father’s plough inspired me to write a poem in a similar style, in which the reader may hear the beating of the waves of the ocean through iambic pentameter. I further achieved this by using alliterations throughout the poem. The purpose of my last stanza was to leave the reader with a bit of hope, as it is not too late to save the Great Barrier Reef. My goal in this poem was to not only describe the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, but to allow the reader to hear and feel this message through my utilization of poetic devices.