O horror horror horror
greed hath murdered the deep
its rust- clotted blood seeps
to our shores weeping
see see see what you’ve done
There was never a time for this
never never never
make deep moan with the whales
click with the dying dolphins
drown with the sea turtles
droop with spartina
cry with the shrimp
you’ve killed our home
our blue-dazzled planet
we’ve turned to red
a ghastly rust red
slaughtered our oyster beds
stuck feathers bring death
no pelican wings glide
no current rides
only the groan of a red tide
in a world made incarnadine
gone the sound of pelican wings
the clatter of ghost crab claws
marsh grasses in the wind
oil pooling on shore groans
no more no more
British Petroleum first saying the damage
will be very little, fails to cap Deepwater Horizon
with Top Kill, pumping heavy mud into the well,
with Junk Shot, injecting golf balls and pieces of rubber
into the blowout preventer with robots
which 5,000 feet down end up crashing into each other
like ancient doomed warriors…
all the while dropping lethal dispersants into the water..
Day after day, the fire rages while oil heads for the shore.
Humans turn off their tv’s with their remotes
saying “I can’t watch this.
I can’t bear this. ‘’ Click,
leaning back with a beer in their barker loungers
complaining of the price of gas for their
bigger and bigger cars,
while the CEO’s and pols call the disaster an oil “spill.”
The stilled crickets
the silent shrimp
the oil- soaked birds
the plankton all ask
why did we die for your greed?
what have you done to our star?
We humans can only say
we are caught red-handed
up to our necks in guilt…
their blood is on our hands
our fat pudgy greedy hands
covered in dead milt
it was their lives we spilt
we killed we killed killed
exceeds the world’s resources
piercing the crust
with our diamond needles
for the oil which is never enough
men wash their hands in blood
as best they can
and look through blind eyes
at a clotted horizon
WHO SAVED THE LAGOON
Who saved this World Heritage Site, this biosphere reserve,
the planet’s last pristine birthing place for gray whales
from destruction when Mitsubishi and the Mexican government
wanted to build, ESSA, Exportora de Sal,
a 220 million dollar salt plant covering 116 square miles
very close to the lagoon?
I and other Mexican leaders first alerted the world, said Homero Aridjis,
and founded El Grupo de los Cien, added his wife Betty,
which went on to initiate the largest environmental campaign in history.
We too were early warners, said the Mexican boatmen.
We helped, said Joel Reynolds and Jacob Scherr
of Natural Resources Defense Council.
We pitched in, said the United Nations.
We too, said the coalition of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
We joined with NRDC.
Don’t forget us, said the 15 fund managers who refused
to do business with Mitsubishi.
We protested, said the 34 scientists, including 9 Nobel laureates.
We said, “Don’t buy Mitsubushi,” jeered the California campaign.
We were in there fighting, said Bobby Kennedy and Pierce Brosnan.
And don’t forget me, said Glenn Close.
Nor us, said the children around the world who sent millions of postcards.
I stopped it, said President Zedillo of Mexico
when I withdrew my support in 2000.
I helped, said his wife, when I touched the calf
on my first trip to the lagoon.
I did that, said the mother whale. I nudged my calf
right toward the First Lady.
On this the tenth anniversary of saving the lagoon,
we are still working, said Joel, and have secured
protection through easments of key acres on the west side
and federal lands to the east of the lagoon.
This could not have been done
without the help of the Mexican government and its conservationists.
Hurrry, said the whales,
spy hopping to show they were watching.
Don’t give up. Ever.
Come help us make the oceans,
once called in Old Norse,
the great whale road,
save for travel.
Let the whales’ eyes,
those moons of the forehead,
remain forever part of our watery planet.
Copyright (C) 2013 by Wendy Larsen. All rights, including electronic, are reserved by the author. "Who Saved the Lagoon" and "Come help us make the ocean" first published in The Gray Whales of Baja by Wendy Larsen, 2012.
Wendy Wilder Larsen was born in Boston, moved to California when she was five and has been on the move ever since. She lived and taught in Vietnam during the war and with her Vietnamese friend, Tran Thi Nga, wrote Shallow Graves:Two Women and Vietnam. Recently, after a trip to the Ignacio Lagoon in Baja, she wrote a book of poems with paintings by Josie Merck about the adventure called The Gray Whales of Baja. The lagoon, the breeding place for the gray whales, was saved from destruction when many envirornmental groups joined to stop the Japanese and Mexicans from building a salt mine nearby. Larsen lives in Santa Barbara in the winter where she goes out in the channel as often she can to watch the grays on their migration to and from Alaska. Wendy serves on the Board of Directors of Poets House.