Al Gore, the former vice president of this country, has published a poem in his new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. The poem is called-- actually it's "untitled," as are a lot of the best poems. Sometimes giving title to a poem is detrimental. The Telegraph is reporting that Mr. Gore wrote the poem because,
his editor would not allow him to publish a chapter in the book about the ramifications of uncontrolled global warming.
Which is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. His publisher wouldn't allow him to publish a chapter in a book on environmentalism about the ramifications of uncontrolled global warming? Really? This guy was vice president. He's won grammys and oscars. He's won the nobel peace prize. And his publisher wouldn't allow him to do something?
You know what-- if he's worth so much, he can go to createspace and publish his book himself, and put whatever the hell he wants in it.
No. I don't believe it. Writers are notoriously unreliable. Mr. Gore wanted to write and publish a poem. And why not? Check out the stark beauty of the bleak landscape evoked by these carefully chosen words:
One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun
Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea
Neptune's bones dissolve
Snow glides from the mountain
Ice fathers floods for a season
A hard rain comes quickly
Then dirt is parched
Kindling is placed in the forest
For the lightning's celebration
Take their leave, unmourned
Horsemen ready their stirrups
Passion seeks heroes and friends
The bell of the city
On the hill is rung
The shepherd cries
The hour of choosing has arrived
Here are your tools
The poem is a litany-- a deluge, a dirge, written to lament the loss not merely of the earth's vitality, but the loss of humanity itself; and, by extension, the individual. Then, suddenly, with the final line a sense of hope and purpose is achieved. I suppose it is selfish to say this, but losing a few polar bears is a small price to pay for such a moving evocation of loss. It is as thrillingly, giddily expressive as anything Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor known for her own poetic excursions, has ever written. Remember this from her farewell/retirement speech:
And then in the summertime such extreme summertime about a hundred and fifty degrees hotter than just some months ago, than just some months from now, with fireweed blooming along the frost heaves and merciless rivers that are rushing and carving and reminding us that here, Mother Nature wins. It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future.
It's clear that The White Goddess has inspired both Al Gore and Sarah Palin in equal measure. We are honored to live in such times. True, there is some squalor to be handled, there is much fear and uncertainty, but we are blessed with such creative wordsmiths, whose soaring poetry warms the shuddering heart and stimulates the febrile mind.
Remember when William Shatner read Sarah Palin's farewell speech as poetry? Can we expect him to return and perform Al Gore's?
Palin pic source.
Gore pic source.