Monday, April 21, 2014

POEM #21- Great Barrier Reef

Blue Linckia Starfish, Great Barrier Reef, by Richard Ling, found on Wikimedia Commons
 I apologize for the spacing! Blogspot is being difficult. I have tried several times to reformat with no luck and I don't have time to retype the whole post!

I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's OUR WONDERFUL WORLD poetry celebration. Today's wonder is the Great Barrier Reef.

Years ago, in Ralph Fletcher's What a Writer Needs, I read these words, "The bigger the issue, the smaller you write." Ralph talked about choosing one tiny detail; for instance, you don't talk about dementia, you talk about how your grandfather, who has always been an impeccable dresser, comes downstairs having missed a belt loop.

The Great Barrier Reef feels pretty overwhelming to me-- visible from outer sapce,  longer than the Great Wall of China, home to thousands of species of fish and marine animals. However, we are killing it through global warning, pollution, etc.

When I went looking for pictures on Wikimedia Commons, I found a beautiful photograph of the Blue Linckia Starfish, then noticed that the photograph was about ten years old. I know that the reef was impacted by an episode of Coral Bleaching in 2006 and I wondered, whether I would still see this spectacularly colored creature if were to visit today.

"Blue Linckia Starfish"
Flipping through photos
of the Great Barrier Reef
I find Blue Linckia Starfish
taken by Richard Ling
ten years ago
so beautiful
I had a dress this color once
I wore it until
it fell apart

And then I read
about coral reef bleaching
most recent outbreak in 2006
I read about global warming
those really hot summers
we have been having

and I wonder
if Mr Ling and I
returned to 
the Great Barrier Reef
today, ten years later
could we 
still photograph
Blue Linckia Starfish?

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2014

And then a list poem.

“Great Barrier Reef”

Thirty species of whales

dolphins, porpoises-

dwarf meinke,

humpback and

fifteen hundred fish,

coral trout, red bass

striped sturgeon

clownfish and

six species of sea turtle—

green, leatherback,

hawksbill, loggerhead

olive ridley and

saltwater crocodiles

sharks, stingray, skates

nine species of seahorses,

seven kinds of frog and

four hundred coral—hard and soft

Five thousand mollusks

seventeen species of sea snake,

 White bellied sea eagle, roseate tern
Twenty one hundred plants,
three endemic,

Fifteen species of seagrass…

How can we do nothing?

© Carol Wilcox, 2014


Mary Lee said...

The list poem is so powerful. It bears witness.

Tabatha said...

I can imagine the list poem as a video. Perfect for Earth Day, Carol!

Cathy said...

It would be interesting to see the difference in ten years time. I'm hoping it wouldn't be too noticeable. Your poem is a great reminder of how important it is to take care of our world.

Your second poem was interesting as well. I really enjoy reading, and writing, informational poetry. It's fun to see what can be done when facts and wonderful words weave together.