Naomi Shihab Nye wrote a poem called “Valentine for Ernest Mann”. It is a poem about poems. In the poem, one character is ‘a serious man who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly just because the world said so.’ This serious man gave his wife two skunks for Valentine’s Day. When his wife cried, he said this, ‘I thought they had such beautiful eyes.’, and he was serious.’ The man really enjoyed the skunks he gave his wife. He had ‘reinvented them as valentines and they became beautiful’.
I understand that though Richard’s giant bottles are art, they aren’t considered to be a finishing touch completing the natural beauty of the national park. Though I’m sure many a poem could be found in the beauty of Richard’s giant battles, I’m certain that is not the reason they are there. They magnify a part of the park that isn’t pretty. It makes you look, and when you look you can’t help but compare the bottles to their surroundings. The juxtaposing effect is obvious. The way the bottles look so un-indigenous in the park make you re-think tossing your water bottle on the ground! It might even make you go out and buy a reusable metal water bottle.
Don’t look at the bottles and see them as a scar on the face of the park, look at them and see that the world isn’t a utopia. It is a balance between good and bad. A harmony sung with a million parts. The ocean’s melody pleads for us to help her stay clean, and Richard’s song harmonizes with the ocean’s.
Below their music though is the constant chant of the plastic bottles that wash up on the shore. Sing your song clear and strong, and I hope it’s closer to the ocean’s rush and roar than the growling of the bottles on the beach.
8th Grade Student
Bay Area, California
23, May 2011