‘The plastic pollution past generations choose to refuse’
Fighting Words 2020: My Ocean, a poem about sea pollution, by Eva Furlong
‘We water your lands, and we feed your people. So take back your Coca-Cola cans, we are your equals.’ Illustration: Getty Images
Name: Eva Furlong
School: Loreto Abbey Secondary School, Dalkey, Co Dublin
The water was cool
Like silk between my fingers
as I ran them through the liquid topaz,
The salty breeze didn’t linger
The day wasn’t over.
Had barely begun,
My hair not like seaweed.
My toes weren’t yet numb,
As the sun rose high, like a beacon of light,
I prayed to the lingering darkness.
I asked for the cure of cold’s bite
It was days like these where I was free to wander.
To explore the deepest depths of our world’s biggest wonder.
But as I dipped my head into the almighty blue,
Something caught and scratched and off away it flew.
But it was not alone, it had an accomplice,
It snagged on my wrist, with no mind of its own, much less a conscience.
I kicked and pulled, but like an eel,
it slipped and curled and my blood congealed.
More kept coming, with the waves as their highway.
These were no creatures of the sea, but I was their buffet.
I could see so many, dirty and clear,
hard and soft, and they had no place here.
And as they passed, they took bites out of me.
They clung and got stuck in my hair and my feet,
Was this a punishment?
What had I done?
I had fed and watered and nourished your young.
As I watched my sea friends trapped too, I cried out in despair,
Look what this stuff can do!
We water your lands, and we feed your people.
So take back your Coca-Cola cans, we are your equals,
And your Tayto crisp packets, your cigarette butts,
your broken iPhones,
And your Starbucks cups, your ex-boyfriend’s sweater,
your Taylor Swift album,
your dream school laminated application letter,
Take them all back, we don’t want them here.
These are your doings, we are living in fear.
We are going to die.
And it will be your fault.
You give others the blame, this is messed up.
My offspring will be mutilated, and as I already stated,
think of what we have done for you.
Your meetings are futile, action plans pointless,
Your leaders are brainless, your congregations voiceless.
Unless you take action fast, as we have so rightly asked,
I will die, and so will you.
Because as wave after wave crashes,
I am battered and bruised,
By the plastic pollution past generations choose to refuse.
So now I cannot run my fingers through the slick oil once called water.
Now, I must dodge the broken watering cans and Valentine’s day garters.
So please, give me my ocean back,
Don’t make this the next generation’s life soundtrack.