Irreplaceable Marine Beauty
2021, Senior, Poetry & Spoken Word
The boat rocked in a
dance with the waves.
I was impatient;
moments away from
descending into a world experienced by
few, appreciated by many.
The ocean herself was eager for an embrace;
she playfully tickled and slapped the boat to
rush my steps. So, I lowered the
ladder to slowly settle into her arms;
I felt her firm grip on my body
through the wetsuit. A subtle reminder of the
double edge in her power: able to
support and protect billions of lifeforms,
while possessing wrath to drown and destroy.
Not a second was made to waste
before I began the descent
into her precious home;
each meter of separation from the surface
alienating from the human world. A
perfect symbolism for the depth of my visit.
My ears gradually plugged in to her music
rich with the clicks and taps of her children.
Time lost its grip, stretching one moment to a million.
I stole a glance to the surface—nearly disorienting; a
reversed horizon. A calm settled over my
mind and spirit, one I knew would
only happen here.
Fins gently grazing the sandy floor,
I itched to grab a fistful and shake through it.
A dozen different sized pebbles floated
from my palm, each a different story of erosion.
I scooped another handful, mourning the discovery of a
green plastic bottle cap from 2008.
It’s ignorant to hope the bottle cap
would somehow disappear, and painful evidence of the
magnitude of plastic which continuously
endangers the ocean’s Majesty. So, I assisted with
housekeeping and held onto the cap.
Proceeding my visit in her home,
I was mindful to leave her sculptures
untouched—art best left alone.
Watching a school of fish,
a grayish green one passed in front of me.
My eyes followed him to a cave where he
disappeared among his kin. I swam after him
and slowly, carefully, knelt in the sand to observe.
A boulder of anemones and corals, the neighborhood
thrived with life. Dozens of species of animals moved about
eating things naked to the eye,
suspended in motion between their mother’s currents,
exploring the area,
avoiding lobsters and crabs,
minding their business.
They were many in number yet they
shared a heartbeat and a home.
I rose a few meters to truly see the environment:
hundreds of corals waving in synch,
hundreds of anemones housing billions of lives.
I realize the ocean never loosened her embrace;
a fractional hint of the love
she has for her family.
My watch signals the end of my visit and the
ascent I must begin. With every
foot of distance, I wish I could
capture the scenery—preserve it beyond memory.
No matter how much I look, it’s never enough.
My heart broke as much as the surface. I
believe moments are truly once-in-a-lifetime
especially underwater; we must act to
preserve the ocean and all she protects
—we risk never sharing her beauty again.
I personally find ocean life inexplicably beautiful, as well as the ocean itself, and so I deeply enjoy my scuba dives. Unfortunately, I've also seen the plastic and glass pollution that ends up haphazardly floating about. I do understand some people truly do their part to help the ocean, but there are far too many people who think, "Oh it's just one straw/bag/bottle/etc." As I wrote my poem, I wanted readers to understand and at least feel the same things I do when going through the exact same process. I wanted to share the appreciation, respect, and awe I have for the ocean itself and the admiration I have for the literal hundreds of thousands of species it holds, not including the ones we don't even know about. I hope my poem will give readers a new perspective and/or motivation to do something. I know I will definitely continue to educate myself about what I can do to help, whether above or below the surface.