Princewill Aniyom

the taste of water

Photo by Fejz Sadiku, Photographer




henever I think of taste

I think of water

I think of colour

I think of the light brown glint

dancing around the ark of my Mother’s bucket.


I think of the stench biting the edges of my tongue

I think of the silky milky flow that increases the fire of my taste

“Water is colourless; Water is tasteless” my teacher sings in class with a pitchy voice that irons the thought into my mind.

But I think she is lying because my Water is different

My Water draws a small frown on my face when I drink as though it is a bitter herbal syrup

My Water comes to me with a message

Black oil. Plastic. Faeces. Dead fishes. Diseases.

My Water calls to me in nightmares

From the empty earth duct eaten by dust

My Water mourns from a weary sky

coloured by carbon clouds


Whenever I think of Water

I think of dry tomorrow

I think of taste

I think of colour.

Princewill Aniyom

Princewill Aniyom, 14

Calabar, Nigeria

Bronze Award, 2021 Ocean Awareness Contest

I live in a suburb in southeastern Nigeria, and getting water from natural sources is always a challenge. Even the so-called sachet water manufactured by local companies, popularly called “Pure Water,” cannot really be pure because it usually has taste and colour. Clean water, according to my teacher, should be pure, tasteless, and colourless, but this is not true in my community. Open defecation, flooding, reckless dumping, and climate change has polluted the water sources. We have done very little to check this. My poem reflects what it means to have access to clean water, if it is even possible.

THe Taste of water

Princewill Aniyom