earth day

Oil Well Erupts

A poem for the 7th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Photo by  John Lester . Oil-soaked wave in Alabama, June 2010. (Flickr)

Photo by John Lester. Oil-soaked wave in Alabama, June 2010. (Flickr)

“It’s far away,”

They say,

At first,

Down on the bottom

Where no light can reach,

“Everything is under control.”

Yet what’s happening on the seabed

Is a different story,

There the truth is obscured

By an unfathomable heaviness,

A slick, thick crimson ink

Swirling up from the depths.

Traveling through the sea,

Higher and higher,

Until it erupts at the surface

And feels the breeze,

And creeps menacingly across

Miles and miles of ocean.

“Ok, we see it,”

They say,

“But don’t fuss,”

They tell us.

“We’ll fix it,”

Then some of the oil ignites,

Some washes to shore,

Some entraps animals

In its sticky hold:

An almost certain death sentence.

Two months later,

Down on the bottom

Where we can’t see,

The slippery oil

Continues to pour

Up and out,

It swirls

Throughout the water

And to the surface,

Where it reveals 

More and more of itself.

Again, “We’ll fix it,”

They say,

Although blinded

By power and greed,

By this ecological hell,

“We’ll fix it,”

They say,

“This leaking oil well.”

Originally posted to Medium on April 20, 2017.

April reflections

It's the perfect month to pay some extra thought to the planet and the words we use to describe it.

Costa Rica Vista.  Credit: Erica Cirino, 2014

Costa Rica Vista. Credit: Erica Cirino, 2014

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, the 46th anniversary of Earth Day—which falls on April 22—in the U.S.

Since 1990 Earth Day’s gone global, and the whole month of April has been deemed “Earth Month”: 30 days to do good by the environment.

While I think people should be kind to the Earth on a daily basis, and should partake in poetic pursuits as much as possible, there’s no debating April is a pretty celebratory month. (I mean…the month kicks off with a holiday, even if said holiday is all about kidding around. Really.)

In honor of poems and the planet, I’ll leave you with a little something I pulled from the archives. I wrote it precisely seven Aprils ago.

While a little bleak, it’s honest and observational, and I hope it makes you pause for a moment and think—think about how you can do better by the environment. Because this place we call home is in a lot of trouble.


By Erica Cirino (April 2009)

Beach trail.  Credit: Erica Cirino

Beach trail. Credit: Erica Cirino

In a time not so long ago,

The earth, a sphere of green and blue,

Spun quietly aglow.


Creatures sheltered by trees tall,

Sprawling plains, snowy mountain peaks—

How could this perfect planet ever fail?


Until one day, thing in this place went awry,

A new mysterious creature emerged

On two legs; havoc it would wreak nigh.


And so the reign of terror did start,

As the other animals of the Earth looked on

And saw their peaceful world fall apart.


Pulled up by the roots, plants were scattered,

Fauna killed for food;

Only the new creature’s happiness mattered.


The new creature has only destruction on its mind,

The indifference it displays is typical,

An intrinsic flaw of human kind.

Lingering thoughts:

·      What Earth-friendly activities and actions are you doing this Earth month?

·      What poetry are you reading for National Poetry Month?

·      Are you more of a poet, or an environmentalist, and why?