Cassandra Bousquet

Cassandra Bousquet is 18 years old. She enjoys knitting, reading, spending time in nature, and participating in theatre and chorus. She has been writing all her life and hopes to be a successful author in the future. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Youth Climate Ambassador program put on by San Mateo County’s Office of Sustainability, San Mateo County Office of Education, Citizens’ Environmental Council of Burlingame and Peninsula Clean Energy. Her work is featured in the collaborative poem, “Breathe,” which appeared in Nature & Culture 2021 Festival Book (Copenhagen: Red Press Kulturhuset Islands Brygge & Københavns Kommune, 2021). She is continuing her climate activism through her Instagram @unitedagainstclimatechange 

Ecopoems

THE WOMAN AND THE OCEAN

The ocean came
And swept away
All of the memories that lay on the sand
All of the jealousies and contraband
Into her depths, these frightful follies flew
Unleashing sorrow, and toxins too

The man who gave his wife a plastic ring
Was swept to his death by the ocean’s wing
The wife, she cried, in life, she tried, to live in simple elegance
But every time she came to the shore, to mourn the wasteful days of yore
She was surrounded by plastic remnants, skeletal fragments
Of a life 

One day she sat and looked at the sky
Reflecting that she, not plastic, was made to die
She stared at her finger, bony and bare
And recollected the ring that once had been there
Cheaper than diamonds, but oh so costly!
For it had wreaked havoc when tossed by the sea

Plumes of spray misted her face
Blessing her with awareness and grace
The waves kept crashing, as a bird keeps flapping, fighting for the right to fly, crying to reverse ‘goodbye’
The other people on the beach—they closed their eyes, they did not speak
As the woman flew into the breach, they were blind to their mistake
And they did not understand, those people on the sand, what the woman was trying to teach

They bought their partners plastic rings
Married themselves to the toxic king
De-beautified the beach and consumed without thinking
Some of them recognized what they were doing, but they did not try to stop the shameful un-doing
They said it was an inevitable thing

The woman whose body became part of the spirit
Of the great ocean that was so very ill
Cried out in pain, but the people couldn’t hear it
And she continues to cry out still

OCEANS RISING

Oceans rising
Temperatures reaching
Record highs
Climate lies
Are so ingrained in our consciousness 
We aren’t surprised
When people say there is nothing we can do.
We don’t believe them,
But we’re not shocked
When they don’t believe; 
We just groan,
And weep our salt tears
Into a river of rage,
Heating up our bodies
Becoming plastic; 
It’s no wonder
The acidity of politics
Is breaking down into microaggressions
Polluting our world.

Oceans rising
Creatures dying
Heads trapped in plastic bags
Icebergs melting,
We’ve seen the pictures
Since we were children
It’s not surprising 
More aren’t climbing
Off the escalator to hell
They say,
The current is too strong
But they,
Don’t reach out their hand to feel it
To see if that’s true.

Oceans rising
Islands sinking
Villagers burning trash
And dying from toxic fumes;
It’s not talked about enough,
Not nice to think about, will make you lose your appetite,
But children are hungry 
In other countries
And even our own
But we don’t see it;
Our culture looks for muscle, not for bone.

Oceans rising
Heating, bleeding
How sick she must feel!
Some look to Space
For a way out
But we’re too far in
Too deep in chaos
Flailing, failing,
To back out now.

Oceans rising
How much more time have we?
For greedy old men to stop being so obsessed
With pretty pieces of paper
That they turn our world into plastic;
Cheap perfume of dust and chemicals
Tearing costly holes in the fabric of our atmosphere,
Pretending they can’t hear:
The desperate screams
Of our Mother
And of her children? 

Copyright © 2022 by Cassandra Bousquet. Used with permission of the author.

Read Cassandra’s poem on belonging, “An Artist”. Cassandra is also a contributor to the collaborative poems, “Breathe” and “The Many Voices Word Karaoke”.