2019, Middle School, Poetry
If the ocean cries out in its waves,
Help me, help me…
as I sit on the darkening shore watching the blushing sky
and listening to the echoing water sliding against
the silhouetted beach, only to retreat back to the blue-green glass.
After all of the neglect, the factory fumes and the plastic bottles,
the swarms of livestock and the fossil fuels,
the carbon-emission blanket suffocating the planet,
will the sea feel satisfaction when it gets its revenge and it swallows the world whole?
Will it smile to itself
when it submerges my aaji’s Mumbai home?
Will it chuckle as it fills the corridors and soaks the hand-crocheted tapestries
and the couch where my brother and I spent the whole summer laughing,
as it wades into the kitchen, filled with aromas that remind you of home,
and knocks down the table spread with everyone’s favorite treats?
Will it drown the chair where she sits day after day,
watching the sky and missing her family halfway around the world,
and grin when it reaches the roof,
where mischievous monkeys play among the mango and jam trees?
As it wades through the once-busy streets,
waterlogging memories of street-vendors and Holi colors,
will the ocean feel remorse?
Will it feel anger, a twisted joy as it mutes the symphony of the city,
as it destroys the only world we ever knew
but forgot to love?
Will it be lonely when it spills into the last valley and scales the last skyscraper?
Will it remember us with fondness or disgust?
Will it simply sigh with relief?
Will anyone be here to witness what the ocean does?
burying my fingers in the sunset sand, my toes kissing the sea foam whispering,
Poetry has always been a way that I can express myself, and I knew that it would be a meaningful way to spread awareness about climate change. When thinking about how climate change affects me, my mind drifted to my grandmother who lives in Mumbai, a coastal city in India at a high risk of flooding due to rising sea levels. My family heritage is from India, but I haven’t been able to visit my grandmother in the last few years. Writing this poem reminded me of all of the fond memories I made on my family’s last trip to India five years ago. After learning about the traumatic effects of climate change, I knew that I had to raise awareness to save the environment and the people close to me. My poetry aims to show how climate change affects people in coastal cities, especially Mumbai. My memories of India, the grandparents there whom I love and miss, inspired my poetry. The ocean itself also inspired my poetry—through the structure and repetition, my poem replicates the sound of waves splashing against a beach. I also included Marathi (an Indian language) in my poem to add another personal layer of connection. In the future, I hope to raise more awareness for climate change and someday find a solution for this worldwide issue.