Thursday, December 10, 2009

Comparing Al Gore's Poetry with Sarah Palin's

Al Gore dives headlong into the poetry breach, following in the footsteps of the influential former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

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

Unknown creatures

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.

Al Gore was clearly influenced by mid-career Sarah Palin's poetic efforts.

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.


shampoo said...

bunnies are cute
they are our own
non-winged angels
I love bunnies
they are good.

when I used to be editor for our company newspaper, I refused to allow a guy to call the possibility of the 2000 switchover causing all my electronic appliances to need to be reset (it didn't, btw) a "constant unrelenting nightmare." then he said "but what if you got to work and your card wouldn't work?" and I said, "I guess I will wait outside with everyone else until someone opens a door with a key. you don't really think the card reader going out would render the building unusuable?"

I think perhaps al gore indulged in similar flights of fancy and he was told by his publisher that after the last human broiled to death there wasn't much else we could do about things.

but, I grew up being constantly terrified about different cataclyms that required sweeping changes for all of humanity to avert (e.g., tv in the mid 70s)... so I don't get the people who think we can just do wtfever to the environment and all would be well. I guess he wanted to bring the same horror to those who missed out...

shampoo said...

I thought you made up the sarah palin quote because it seems to reference global warming as well. but, nope, she said that. so, did she mean to say that? haha

Ricky Sprague said...

I'm flattered that you thought I made up that quote. I'm not that creative.

shampoo said...

that's why my first comment had a poem... I was copying what I thought was you doing a sarah poem by doing an al poem (only mine is better than his on account of bunnies).