Deep down we are all one

17 September 2012 | 2012 International Aquarium Congress

The 8th International Aquarium Congress opening ceremony on Monday 10 September marked the start of a hugely inspirational week. Put together by Francois le Roux – the Ha! Man – the opening performance featured a sublime children’s choir, local performers and poetry by Lara Kirsten , all performed against a backdrop of stunning ocean images and important conservation messages. We share Lara’s poetry with you here.

Photo by Ingrid Sinclair Photo by Ingrid Sinclair

Part 1

before breathing began
before hearts started to beat
before hunger struck consciousness
deep and dark pools grew
emerging from a liquid spark
bursting forth slowly and silently into the first throbbing cells
pulsing through darkness
holding onto the waves that thrust
their virility into hungry life
chiseling cathedral cavities
where tidal pools shape and temper consciousness
casting an oceanic spell on all living things
moulding watery awareness in all of life’s core
clinging onto that instinct to dive, to swim
into the womb of life
oh , ocean, you make the earth stand to attention!
feel and listen to the resonating growth in the organic pool
filling this great reservoir of life with marine mysteria
feel and see the grand variety of colours and rhythms
exploding in abundance in one of life’s most monumental dramas
the glistening peaks of waves
exalt with tremors of
that build up the knowledge
that these waters
these fine waters
these wild waters
were our very first home

Part 2

in strength we, the human family, grew
we felt at home
for we had tools in our hands
language on our tongue
confidence in our bi-pedal dance
we set sail on the winds
we fashioned wings with our genius
oh, how we felt like rulers of the world!
soon our conquering spirits started to grow a lust for power
provoking, spoiling, soiling and dumping
threatening precious life on earth
but we do not care!
violently clashing
claw against skin
tooth against bone
wave against stone
the oceans brew, boil and fight
can’t they see WE have all the power, WE have all the might?
they say ‘we are out of our depth
we are loosing touch with our fluid selves’
but who cares, who the hell cares!?
what other parts of this system can we break down and break apart
to feed the ferocious monster of our obsessioned profiteering?
we will go on till all that is left is skeletal remains of fish
we refuse to see their hollowed eyes begging
we refuse to hear them calling yearningly
to the days their wet glimmer fins once tasted
the speed of the tides
oh, let us cling fiercely to our voracious devouring!
let us make ourselves enemies of that which is the greatest living force!
let us simply look on as all things beautiful fall apart

cold and isolated is our breath
ominously inviting our inglorious death

Part 3

in water cold as stones against
the dewing cliffs in the early morning hours
i swim with my body and become one with water
boundary between skin and liquid disappears
the water becomes one with me
i feel no resistance of muscle, mind or nerve
my body becomes the meeting of hydrogen and oxygen
i taste the ocean with my whole body
all my thirsting cells dissolve in the wholesome simplicity of water
i become one with water
i become one with the oceans
i hear the creatures of the deep moist underworld
crying and calling to us
how far will we wound this great liquid life that has been our very first home?
how long will our selfish selves yell for more, more and more!?
the whale within us all is sighing deep and heavy
the oceans are weeping
washing up tears on the shores of our senses
i look into the mirror of the ocean
i see how small and naked i am
let us remember that whether we swim, walk or fly
it is from here that all life’s diversity sprung to life

we the living are the ones to carry this great gift with grace and gratitude
may we never lose sight of the magnificence of the mercurial dancing of the oceans
we need its nourishment for our dry and thirsting souls
let us not stand dispassionate
our elemental living started in these dark depths
let our healing start here too

head and fin of fish show the direction in which our healing must go:
to the water cathedrals where unheard songs break through coral and kelp
and the harmonies of water reshape our beings
to feel a true compassion for our great oceanic family,
because, afterall,
deep down we are all one


  • Author: 2012 International Aquarium Congress


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