Monday, January 21, 2013

when the ocean bleeds

I love the ocean. But I also fear and respect it for it's power. As a child, my cousins and I would jump into the sea off a pier, and catch catfish. How fool-hardy then, but the sea water is cool and inviting on a hot day. As I grew older I found there is nothing better to calm your emotions than sitting at a breakwater and watch the waves coming to shore.

The ocean is not what it used to be. It is wounded, tired. Walk along any beach, and you will see what the waves bring in. Plastics, oil, debris, dead wildlife. 70 over percent of the earth is ocean, regulating weather, providing oxygen, food. That's an awful lot of ocean, but it is still finite...

I am not an environmentalist, but this is the only earth we had...

image from

when the ocean bleeds

time is short
the tide rises

rusted hulls
bleed ochre blood
to the seas

and washed up
on the shores
driftwood dead corals

oil slicks
rainbows still dance
on wounded membranes

a child picks
a seashell
from the sands

but the shell
is pitted and chipped
and bleached

and if she puts
the shell
to her ears

it is not the roar
of waves she hears

but the whimper
of an ocean in pain


We never know the worth of water, till the well is dry.

-- Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

This new poem (though it has been sitting in my hard disc for some time) is shared on Poetry Pantry #133 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2013.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Emma Major said...

the whimper of an ocean - powerful

21 January, 2013 01:12  
Blogger Kim Nelson said...

I am a desert dweller who treks annually to the ocean. Your work and writing here resonate with me on so many levels. Water is key...

21 January, 2013 02:09  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

No poem could affect me more deeply than this - the whimper of a sea that is burdened with our waste and misuse. This poem hits straight to my heart and my spirit. Thank you for writing it and helping us to see it through your fresh eyes.

21 January, 2013 03:05  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

ugh...isnt that the dont have to be an environmentalist to see what we are doing..the way we treat our earth is dispicable...your title is evocative....felt that whimper as well...

21 January, 2013 04:15  
Blogger Mary said...

Oh, this is a painful poem. I understand the ocean's pain. I have recently heard that on certain beaches of Hawaii so much stuff is washing up that should not be in the ocean at all. Many people are employed to rid the beach, but still it continues.....and, of course, all the tsunami wastes don't help! A strong poem. I feel it. Thanks for sharing here at the Poetry Pantry.

21 January, 2013 05:44  
Blogger aprille said...

Extremely accomplished and very readable. Clever to turn such a frightening message into poetry.

21 January, 2013 06:40  
Blogger Libby Meador said...

I made a trip to the Gulf of Mexico last summer and BP's bleed was still making a mess of things.

21 January, 2013 07:32  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I thought your preamble was so well expressed that it was already poetry - then I read the poem, which took language to greater heights, and saw the difference between prose and poetry.

And then there's the message - which is so important. I don't understand why you say you are not an environmentalist. when clearly you care about the state of our environment. Perhaps you have very specific ideas about what an environmentalist is or is not? I can't speculate on what such ideas might be, but I think this beautiful poem makes a compelling case for looking after our environment better than we have been doing, and I wish it would be read far and wide.

21 January, 2013 19:36  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thanks for visiting! :)


water is key, no doubt. most people takes it for granted, but certainly not desert dwellers. :)


thank you for your lovely comment. the ocean is indeed burdened with our waste and misuse.


urgh! right, as if it is not bad enough, the abuse goes on.


i used to visit a local beach known as White Sands (translated from Malay) but the sand ain't white anymore. the debris from the tsunami show how far pollution can travel.


thank you so much. :)


BP's oil spill in the Gulf was one heck of a disaster. the impact will still be felt long into the future.


thanks for you very insightful comment. i said i am not an environmentalist because i think he/she is an activist too, one who is not only very passionate about the cause but also not afraid to dirty the hands. but yes, i am concerned about the environment, and will try my bit in not making it any worse.

it's great to read a comment like yours. really appreciate it. :)

21 January, 2013 21:01  
Blogger Ravenblack said...

Good stuff, dsnake. Very true I think. I've done beach cleanups. It's sad the amount mess there is.

23 January, 2013 06:24  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

that's action, raven, the beach cleanups. :)

23 January, 2013 17:27  

Post a Comment

<< Home