Stories From the Bow Seat

2017 Winner: Mother of Mother Earth (High School Poetry)

2017 Ocean Awareness Student Contest: Notable Submission Award in the High School Poetry Category

Hannah Habibi
Age 17
Orange, California

“Mother of Mother Earth”

My daughter ran to me, crying that she was sick,
Pleading for me to fix it quick.
My baby was sweating, melting away.
My baby clutched her stomach, filled with junk, completely trashed.
My baby fell to the ground, bleached bones bashed.
My baby blew her nose, oil staining her tissue.
I couldn’t stand watching my girl wither away from issue upon issue,
So as mothers do, I promised to make everything better.

I turned down the heater,
No more fossil fuels to beat her.
Her tears stopped flowing, stopped flooding,
The glistening in her eyes stopped rising.
Her fast recovery was not surprising.

Throwing up the trash she had ingested,
I knew I had to give her body time to get rested.
So I improved her diet,
I said no more plastics bottles and bags, which created quite a riot.
But soon her protests went quiet,
When she realized her waters were finally clean and pristine.

The acids had worn away at her structure,
Bones brittle, body lacking color.
So I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed everything she absorbed,
Only the best for my adorned.
Slowly her base regrew,
Then the rest of her body sparked with life anew.

I tried to burn away the black nose ooze,
But it kept coming back, a battle I would always lose.
So I fought the source.
I would do anything for my daughter of course.
I sued and argued and attacked,
But most importantly changed the habits of myself that lacked.
By cutting off their demand,
They fell, a loss they couldn’t withstand.

I held my baby in my arms,
Singing a lullaby filled with pre industrial memories when she was unharmed.
I told her not to worry,
I will try to change her future in a hurry.
So as mothers do, I made my baby Earth better.


Student Reflection

I wrote the poem “Mother of Mother Earth” because I was enrolled in AP Environmental Science this year at my school.  It was by far my favorite class but sometimes the hardest due to it making me question my own life habits.  Before this year, I was aware of types of pollution everyone knows about like plastic and oil spills.  However, I had no clue about the true extent of their consequences and that ocean acidification even existed.  When I realized this, I tried my hardest to do little acts to help like recycling my Gatorade bottles instead of just being lazy and throwing them into the trash.

Mother’s Day inspired me to write this poem.  I happened to be sick that weekend and my mom was taking care of me.  I realized that just like me, the oceans of the Earth were trying to fight off the harm inflicted upon them, but they needed help to succeed.  So just like my mom did small favors like making me tea and giving me hugs, we humans can provide some acts of love to the oceans.  We need to care about and protect the ocean like mothers nurture their children.  Tea and hugs might not make everything better immediately, but it truly is the smallest efforts that all combine to create a change.  Changed mindsets lead to changed actions that will help save our oceans, which is what I tried to achieve in this poem.

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