Ode to Fish and Fishers
By Cathal Healy-Singh
Oh Paria, your Gulf once rich with spouting whale and sperm
And with fish thick of all hue
In the twilight, and in your twilight,
From the smallest seabed worm
Once species rich, now species poor,
To the great Mahi Mahi, Grouper, Carite and Jack Crevalle
Top and bottom dwellers all,
There is not yet sorrow, nor have tears shed for you,
Nor did ears lie awake to hear the cry of Fishers loud
Only riot gear, courts and humiliation
Here on land, we with two feet and tail no more
We who by lore,
Left our gills and swam ashore
At the dawn of time,
We have lost our way.
We sought fossils to burn bulbs bright and run motor car
We rushed our gas and in our haste lost our wickets.
What is left is stranded now,
In little pockets or in the very deep
where dwell together additional risk, costs and concern
This stranding was foretold
When one great fossil buccaneer,
Robert Riley had declared,
as he rode out on stallion proud
To board a BA flight
“The era of cheap gas is over”,
and without wink or blink,
And with a smile and a wave, he was gone.
The movie was over.
It was time to explore what little more.
The seismic gun arrays are charged and ready
Certificates in-hand declaring no undue harm
Trepidation aside for matters environment
And for matters social,
They are for the huggers of trees
An overly sensitive bunch, uninformed of matters economic
I mean, near a gigawatt of power at least,
To satisfy the Point Lisas Beast
And in our claim to economic fame
Remember, quibbling and trifling now
Would be lame
The gas rush is still on
And for that there is no blame.
Yes the guns are readied and thousands will fire in Fields Soldado
In the hands of our own dear Petrotrin and
In the hands BHP Billiton, who
In lands flung far,
Has won many a fossil war
They head for Blocks north-east of Tobago
Oh Fish and Fishers
On your waiting epitaph to be inscribed,
Is our heavy gas industrial footprint
World scale indeed
But not world class
Nor best in class,
This is no Singapore!
This is Trinidad.
Here our capitalism feral, sits alone at the table.
While overseas and far and wide,
it is no fable,
That business here is “spectacular”
No social costs, no environmental concerns,
Both externalized and like the fish and fishers,
to be forgotten.
I have raised my voice loud and clear
For you fish and Fishers
for all to hear.
And for this do pay the price
For these venal and vindictive men,
Who guard the reins of State,
They are unforgiving of those who speak out
There is no work, no opportunity nor chance more here.
Yet in this Ode,
I sing for your once honoured hive
That you may still survive
And in this cyber sphere there is a ticket
by which Fishers can recover a modest wicket
And by signing this here Avaaz Petition
It would indeed be a great rendition.