Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.
When the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge penned this masterpiece in the late 1700s it painted a bleak picture of what the world could look like if we were surrounded by water we could not drink.
We are now staring at what Coleridge was talking about - a future where water from the tap could be off the menu, and only the chemical-free bottled variety will be the safe source of supply.
No wonder those overseas water bottling companies are circling around our pristine chemical-free aquifers like hawks around a roadkill.
This doesn't come as a major surprise to me.
For the past 20 years, I have been banging on about the agrichemicals we are saturating our whenua with, but for the most part, it fell on deaf ears and as always profit trumped people in the high stakes global game of sustainable survival.
I have always had the "counterpunch" thrown at my "Spray of Plenty" korero by what industry sees as a king hit: "Where's the science?"
Turns out the scientists are starting to say what a lot of us had suspicions about, none more so than Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey, who came out this week saying: "It is time to act on nitrate levels in drinking water so as not to put New Zealanders at risk."
His concerns come after a Danish study of 2.5 million people found a correlation between levels of nitrate in drinking water and rates of colorectal cancer. "We have the data; we should be doing the research to understand the risk to New Zealanders."
Totally tautoko that. .
All across the planet scientists are saying the same thing about the state of our drinking water and what agrichemicals are doing to it.
"An immediate response is warranted so that we are not poisoning our water to produce our food," said Dr David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre in New Haven, Connecticut in his published report.
The report said 80 per cent of nitrate-related cancers were colorectal, with ovarian, thyroid, kidney and lung making up the balance.
So where does this leave us here in the "Spray of Plenty" where another taniwha has been lurking down there for the past 10 years since?
It's called copper sulphate and according to the spray plan put out by KVH (Kiwifruit Vine Health Incorporated) kiwifruit growers are applying it at quantities that are, in my view, alarming (12.5kg per hectare.
If you do the maths, it paints a very grim picture, especially when we consider the Rena only had 50 tonnes of copper filings in her puku when she sank, and this was seen as an environmental disaster.
Question is where does this fungicide end up? Could it be ending up in our water table and sitting there and accumulating?
Some wineries in France, the US and elsewhere have backed away from using copper sulphate because of accumulation of copper in the soil and Europe is considering banning the fungicide.
I can understand, however, why the intense copper sulphate spray campaign was brought in post-PSA.
One grower described PSA as a lingering cancer that can break out.
I get that, always have. But doesn't it seem crazy to fight one cancer with another potentially harmful substance? We are after all talking about plants versus people here.
Nitrates, copper sulphate sprays, in my view, are no good for us and now that there are a few more trump cards laid on the table perhaps those applying these chemicals will sit up and listen to what science is telling them?
In the Māori world, our science is simple: don't poison Papatuanuku.
There is no grey area in being a kaitiakitanga and you cannot cut and paste tikanga. If profit is the excuse to dance around why we can poison Papatuanuku, then it's very short-term thinking without any concern shown for future generations.
Poisoning more land for profit is not what kaitiakitanga is about and we as Māori should be pioneering sustainable organic farming - just as our ancestors did to protect the whenua they fought for.
Then and only then will we have water, water everywhere clean enough to drink.
• Tommy Kapai Wilson is a local writer and best-selling author. He started working for the Bay of Plenty Times as a paperboy in 1966 and has been a columnist for 15 years. Tommy is executive director of Te Tuinga Whānau, a social service agency committed to the needs of our community. firstname.lastname@example.org