2017, High School, Poetry
Here the waves are crested
only with the gloss of a deadly dark ink,
never by whitewater, softened seafoam —
the shrill and raucous cries of seagulls
have choked in their throats,
a deadly silence falling —
the sea sings on
but something is wrong.
The ocean churns in restlessness,
a turbulent, controlling fear —
a plague of iridescent shadows
staining pure azure with Stygian darkness
unnatural of broad daylight,
crawling, insidious, slipping through
the feathered gills of fish,
festering on the wings of pelicans —
a hopeless weight, a flightlessness
brought about by human carelessness.
Translucent as jellyfish flushed
the petal-soft pink of an ascending sunrise,
the smooth inside curve of conch shells —
but a thousand times more deadly.
It constricts, writhing like eels,
entangling sea turtles
into a fatal, twisted embrace —
deforms, tearing lacerations
through tessellating scales
into the tissue-paper layers of fish.
Now it poisons, too, glittering innocuously
within the stomachs of every living creature
misled by gleaming opaque beauty —
maybe, that already includes
…and countless others
The sea — bridled by belts of glistening plastic,
fastened with glinting cans and glistening bottles,
the once pristine sand-girdles of a distant shore
suffused with suffocating smoke, the thick fog of oil.
This could be anywhere, this could even be everywhere —
but if we each care enough to speak up
it could also be nowhere.
everything at stake
I think of waves incessantly rushing,
the star-like scintillations of creatures of the deep —
the melodious, echoing croons of
lissome lunar-silver dolphins, whales painted primordial indigo, slipping
through depths glimmering aquamarine, viridescent, cerulean —
shoals of darting fish shifting faster than thunderstorms,
light refracting in an eternal dance, scales shimmering bright —
the efflorescence of coral reefs blooming thousands of colors,
an impossible beauty flourishing through millennia.
Water, flowing weightlessly over diaphanous fins
shaped over hundreds of years
by the careful hands of evolution and sheer chance,
a constant process, neverending —
then why does humanity seem to believe
we have the right to spurn our origins
with excuses, excuses —
faces willingly turned
from the consequences of our own actions?
We cannot plead ignorance any longer,
nor laziness —
what a poor excuse for overlooking
the death of the very planet we live on.
Temporary profit and wealth is a small thing to pay
for our own survival and the generations onward —
or is our foresight so poor
that we can be convinced otherwise?
We seem to be so certain
that the sea, in all of its ancient power,
the place that has provided, awed, inspired for centuries
is invincible, invulnerable —
This is not the case,
never has been and never will be —
the ocean has its own limits,
ones that must be respected.
We can no longer think of ourselves
as separate from our environment,
not when everything is entangled, linked, connected
by the nature of our existence —
to inflict damage on the sea
is to destroy ourselves.
Now we stand at a crossroads —
the futures existing before us are countless,
but it is up to us to choose the right one.
Amaral, Kimberly. “Plastics in Our Oceans.” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution . Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, n.d. Web. 5 June 2017. <http://www.whoi.edu/science/B/people/kamaral/plasticsarticle.html>.
“How Oil Harms Animals and Plants in Marine Environments.” Office of Response and Restoration.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, n.d. Web. 3 June 2017.
“Marine Pollution.” National Geographic . National Geographic Partners, LLC, n.d. Web. 30 May 2017.
“The Problem of Marine Plastic Pollution.” Clean Water Action . Clean Water Action, 20 Apr. 2016. Web.
5 June 2017. <http://www.cleanwater.org/problem-marine-plastic-pollution>.
From a young age, I have been enchanted by the ocean and how it seemed infinite, reaching and surpassing the distant horizon. I suppose this was humanity’s first mistake when it came to the sea — assuming that the ocean is not, simply cannot be, limited. After all, how can something so unimaginably vast and expansive be destroyed? It seems impossible, but it is the reality we face today. I intended to provide a strong contrast between the poems illustrating a world in which we fail to step forward and the one describing everything to lose if we do not take action. I wished to capture the awe-inspiring magnificence of the ocean and the life that thrives within it, but also what potential disasters may occur should we take it all for granted. I firmly believe change first takes place at the level of the individual, and hope to impress upon the reader that if we take action now, the natural beauty and wildlife of the ocean can be saved. It starts small, but awareness and willingness to do what it takes to help is the first step. The pollution of the ocean and the mishandling of its natural resources is certainly something that saddens me, but it also makes me hopeful for the future; humanity does have the capacity to destroy, but more importantly, we are also capable of healing the sea and our environment. I have faith that we will choose to do the right thing.