Song of the Sea
2016, Middle School, Poetry
1. oil spill
An oil spill is the release of a liquid
petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution.
The seas are my mouths,
and human pollution is a three course meal.
for starters, I feed on blended oil
poured into each surge of a wave – main courses
float upon the surface of the deep –
cold, hard shackles around blatant
ankles – bruised, carved, scratched, scraped
against solid walls, uncaring glances.
as birds lie stranded upon shores; ice
coats wrap around my children, my otters, hypothermia – cold.
and for dessert? we do not want your
light oils, or runoff, or fuel ridden waste. each ship hull
is a prison cell, each barrel a bullet.
you humans were never meant to hold guns.
we do not want your selfishness cast down into
the beautiful blackness of our souls. we do not want
your litter, your trash, your waste, your rubbish. we are the oceans,
and we do not want your pain.
but, i am singing a silent song,
for the waters bubble and shout, but
our boiling point is non-existent, the air
swallows our cries, and again you are stuffing
a gourmet meal down our throats that we do not want to eat//
there is no denying that the sky’s the limit, but these days I look up,
and see crude oil pipelines reflected in a blue blue sky and acid
pours forth from the pregnant heavens. every thing of this world
is pregnant, you realize? and i am heaving with new life, children, creatures that make their dwelling in the cold depths of my belly, but now. They are choking, starving, we are silent, for if we open our mouths we die – on the liquid petroleum hydrocarbon that has become taboo in our ocean schools. It is oil, spillage, that mingles with my particles, each buzz of CO2 a sting of death; it is no wonder, your energy consumption swings up onto infinity
a small girl, wrapped up in the depths of
council house streets, four corner living rooms.
a voice floats upon the ghosts
that hide themselves below
the ceiling of house.
darling, would you like a glass of water?
there is a moment of hesitation,
milliseconds run into sub-atomic particles,
and she is skipping her way to the kitchen like a puppet,
legs slide up, mouth slides open – she is thirsty,
dry tongue laps against the shore of her hands
she is thirsty. and soon
the seas pour from her metal tap,
rusted with decades of
husband/wife shouting matches,
sister sneaks boyfriends through back doors,
front windows – this house is the space between
tide and sand; it is nothing.
and now she holds an ocean in her hand.
one sip, gentle, two sips, gentle, hush, child.
what can you taste, darling?
i can taste an oiled bird, otter has hypothermia, crude oil spilt, diesel floats and evaporates upon
twitching wings, i can taste dry humanity casting its cares into the sea i can taste i can taste the
eyes of the ocean staring at me, they cry cry cry
they do not know that this girl is the incarnation of human
pollution – and now the waves of every coursing ocean
swirl within her gut,
each organ this vessel of humanity.
The idea for “song of the sea” came to me while running cross my school’s lawn I can’t fully remember now, but I think I was chanting “the seas are my mouths” to myself. I didn’t want to forget it. Forging in me was something about oil spills being meals, the ocean being fed something it did not want. There were a number of things that inspired me. Artwork - paintings showing the extent of pollution, expressed simply in a glass of water, definitely molded the poem’s part three. Before this competition I didn’t know much about ocean pollution, and to be honest, I’m still not an expert on the subject. But when I was writing my poem, I felt like I was part of the ocean. I was a single chorus of the ocean, and it made me understand the heavy effect of our waste on the sea. The poem is a song - songs evoke emotion, telling a story that is too good for mere words. I wanted to stir sorrow in the reader. Part III is an analogy for the future of oil spills and ocean pollution. The girl drinks the water and she becomes the filth that humanity is creating. Each day our generation is part of the deteriorating state of the environment, but rarely we do anything. I have barely moved from my chair, but I hope to God that I have poured out my heart in these words.