The Watchman’s Midnight Dream
Mexico City, Mexico
2018, High School, Poetry
The sea whispers with the ebb and flow
Of soft waves that sway beneath moonlight.
As silence pervades the distant night,
Stars lightly afire in the dazed reflections of
Ripples in the water,
Earthen cliffs, the watchmen of the tide,
Grow heavy with the tired moon
The watchmen unseeing, a sudden gust of wind
Takes to the moment and soars down.
It skims the water’s surface on its flight
And advances towards the horizon,
Carrying its message across the silent waves,
Calling upon them to awaken.
Swiftly, the sparks and flickers of strange lights –
A bioluminescence that embraces the tide –
Forms a march that moves grandly in a
Glowing lantern parade across the sandy floor.
Unnoticed by the parade below, a stone rolls gently
Off the edge of the sleeping cliff and falls.
Not far from the water’s edge,
The albatross mother nests with her young,
Their stomachs full
Of shredded plastic, bottle caps, and cigarette lighters.
The newborn chick’s body will fade from the sand,
Leaving behind a small pile of the plastic
fed to it by its mother.
The sea whispers to the moon,
The soft waves compose a melody.
But the moon is too far to hear the sea’s whispers,
And only the fish understand its song.
Like the brazen sun that accedes the sky,
Man has journeyed forth to conquer the water.
Man has drawn tribute from its waves.
Man claimed the seas, but now only man has the key
To grant the oceans their eternity.
I tried to encompass the beauty of the ocean while calling on people to take action to preserve it for future generations. I was inspired to write this poem after reading two articles: one was a beautifully written article on bioluminescence, and after reading it, I wanted to capture the image of the ocean at night through my writing. Later, I read about the albatross living on the Pacific Island Midway Atoll, where mother albatrosses feed plastic to their chicks after mistaking it for food. I was horrified by images of dead albatross chicks with their stomachs packed with plastic. From our beaches, we can appreciate what looks like a peaceful, beautiful ocean, yet on Midway Atoll, albatross skeletons lay amidst piles of plastic waste. Just as I write that “the moon is too far to hear the sea’s whispers,” many people in our society distance themselves from environmental issues, and the terrible problems in the ocean are reduced to a “whisper.” We are the sleeping watchmen cliffs in my poem, and we need to wake up and hold ourselves accountable for the damage that we are doing to our planet. Bibliography: 1. Davies E. The organisms that glow brighter than any other. BBC. bbc.com. 2016. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160526-the-organisms-that-glow-brighter-than-any-other 2. Laysan Albatrosses’ Plastic Problem. Smithsonian Ocean. Oceansiedu. 2018. Available at: http://ocean.si.edu/slideshow/laysan-albatrosses%E2%80%99-plastic-problem 3. Birds of Midway - Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. fwsgov. 2017. Available at: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Midway_Atoll/wildlife_and_habitat/Birds_of_Midway.html