We are All on the Same Boat
2023, Junior, Poetry & Spoken Word
Climate Hero: Jacques-Yves Cousteau
“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Say the sea will stay wake, I dare
you. We are all in the same boat;
so I dare you to say, with confidence like the glow
of the sun, that the seas will continue being the
currents for home.
Yet, I know you cannot, because you see the truth —
like I do. Debris crawling up shores,
in possession of crabs, turtles; life,
is our neglect carved in stone. The neglect that caused
cigarette butts to be dulled by the water,
and bags to choke marine life.
My bare feet once touched only sand, at the place
where the water meets land. But, now,
there is slick, slime, artificial scratch — like
humans’ touch. Unnatural, as if the sun showered
cold light. But the sun is untarnished; the star too far
away to be wasteland. So, can we not bend our ways
and make the sea be untouched like the sun?
Say the sea will stay awake, I dare you.
For we must. The sea is man’s only hope; it is humankind’s
only hope. Water is gold; we need to treat it like
it is more than just liquid sprinkling from taps.
because, water is not infinite.
Hear the bell chime. Hear it ring true. We
must change how we use, how we discard,
for, the seas — Earth’s — sake, depend on it.
We are all on the same boat, drenches truth;
we either sink under waves, or we emerge.
So for the sake of life, we have to promise,
the sea does not sleep.
Although I live inland, in Japan, the ocean has always been magical to me. Every time I see a river, a sea, ocean - I fall in love with the salty smell, and the movement of the waves. I just cannot get the beauty of the sea away from my mind - and since I love writing poetry as much as I do stories, essays, anything, I decided to try writing one about the water. Initially, I wanted to lean on using ambiguous language, but the prompt changed the plan. I switched to focusing on expanding the message of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and his quote about "we are all in the same boat," because this cannot be more true. Climate change will affect everyone, sooner or later, and it is up to us to decide if we want to in unity solve the problem or let the boat sink under the waves. Cousteau's efforts advocated for all bodies of water, and his documentaries highlights the beauty of aquatic environments - further emphasizing why the ocean is such an important part of Earth. Because the ocean is alive. So, collectively, we need to all first change our use of products, and then advocate for a consensus that the ocean pollution needs to be addressed; promote and participate in beach cleanups, make sure no toxic substances or waste is being dumped into the ocean, and just do everything we can to help.