Oceans In Peril
Sun glints on sparkling morning sea.
I walk the beach and spy a shrimp boat bobbing,
Booms outstretched eager for the catch.
Who controls the numbers seized?
Menus filled with shrimp, fried, boiled, baked,
Will we eat them all?
Joggers and runners, ear buds in, red-faced,
Panting, sweating, enduring their mile, their five miles.
Fanny packs and backpacks bounce, holding their devices.
They listen: music, news, texts, emails.
The splendid sound of waves, the shells, the sand, are lost.
Two children discover boogie-boarding.
Their screams delight as they catch the perfect wave
And ride the foam to shore.
Another child digs, engrossed with bucket and shovel,
But Dad needs more coffee and pulls her up with him.
Children rest in beach chairs under umbrellas,
Knees drawn up, balancing their iPads, their smart phones, their tablets.
Visors and sunglasses shade their eyes cemented on screens.
Their voices loud and raucous
As they point and click on favorite games.
A small child eats potato chips from a plastic bag.
He stands watching waves with his dad.
Chips gone, he drops the bag into the shallows.
On outstretched hand I offer it and say,
“I think this is yours.”
Dad turns, “No, just leave it there. It’s garbage.”
The words sting my ears, my eyes.
Oblivious to this tiny carnage,
A pelican, wings like arrow feathers held tight,
Slices through the water
And scoops up a fish.
A pod of dolphins, sleek grey backs,
Undulate through the same fish school.
Only three children notice the exquisite nature of sea and shore.
They see the glory of diverse shells rolling up in surf.
They see the intricate carapace of a ghost crab washed up in waves,
And “skeletons” of tube worms displaced by a stormy sea,
And whelk egg casings trapped in seaweed,
And sea gulls lined up for preening.
At least we close the drapes,
Take down street lights,
Allowing sea turtles safe passage
Nesting and hatching in the sand.
Soon we will pick up our plastic, soon.