World Rainforest Movement

Bottled Tears Or Water Poem

 

Yesterday I could cry and shed watery tears

I could labour and freely shoot watery sweat

But today

Not so, not so

Riverbeds turned dustbowls

Rivers diverted into private throats

Creeks turned into rivers of salt

I sweat blood

And weep dry-eyed

Our fathers and forefathers and mothers and grandmothers say waters from

Streams and rivers, creeks and lagoons 

In their days

Were clear, odourless, tasteless, healthy

In their days

When we talked of process none guessed we

Were in the process of privatising our throats

Choking our taste buds on caustic soda as

Process waters from drill pits and fluid effluents

From eucalyptus paper mills attempt to paper

Over the pains and deceits of reckless tycoons

Draped in dark cocoons of international finance plans

To subjugate and to squeeze and commodify

Our sweat and tear drops

Our fathers and forefathers and mothers and grandmothers say waters from

Streams and rivers, creeks and lagoons 

In their days

Were clear, odourless, tasteless, healthy

In their days

Dreams of sparkling streams evoke surrealistic brushes

Fishes dancing past steel hooks and reedy traps

Pebbles and sand dragging divers’ plunge for hidden treasure

Throve centuries saved from prying eyes

I look deep into your heart and see

Fossils of forgotten dreams

Calcified

Histories like far removed tales

Crabs long eaten, turtles hurtled

Into distant lands

Our fathers and forefathers and mothers and grandmothers say waters from

Streams and rivers, creeks and lagoons 

In their days

Were clear, odourless, tasteless, healthy

In their days

Last night kids danced in acid rain

Doubly warmed by infernal dragon tongues

From gas flares

Empty shells, lifeless sockets, death everywhere

Forlorn men, backs broken, homes long gone

Sit on benches of plastic bamboos

Whistling for fishes from acid lakes

Craving for mudskippers from tar ponds

Our fathers and forefathers and mothers and grandmothers say waters from

Streams and rivers, creeks and lagoons 

In their days

Were clear, odourless, tasteless, healthy

In their days

Once I could cup you in my palms

Now captive in plastics

These logos are they your makers?

Spring waters spring from ubiquitous boreholes

Polluted waters marketed as life giving fluids

You spring surprises don’t you?

Who made the robots that rob?

We demand

Free our waters

Jail the water crooks

Polluters and thieves!

Our fathers and forefathers and mothers and grandmothers say waters from

Streams and rivers, creeks and lagoons 

In their days

Were clear, odourless, tasteless, healthy

In their days

By Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action, e-mail: nnimmo@eraction.org