A poem for Minamata

It is only the sea
I can trust.
When people tell me
that the sea is dirty
I curse them,
I want to strike them.
The sea ‘dirty’?
How dare they say
the sea is dirty!
It is not the sea that wrongs.
The sea has done nothing wrong.
The sea is my life.
The sea is my religion.
The sea comforts me—
it has given me courage and sustenance,
and escape from the quarrels
of shore-bound men.
When I thought I was dying,
and my hands were numb
and wouldn’t work—
and my father was dying too—
when the villagers turned against us—
it was to the sea
I would go to cry.
The sea protected my tears.
I talk crazy about the sea.
No one can understand
why I love the sea so much.
The sea has never abandoned me.
The sea is the blood of my veins.
Anonymous fisherman of Minamata
Quoted in “Beyond the Chemical Century“, 1999, a report to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster.

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