Monday, December 7, 2009

Al Gore: God's Gift to Mankind (?)

From Vanity Fair, this gem:

Al Gore: The Poet Laureate of Climate Change (by Mark Hertsgaard)

You can read the entire article, of course, but the gist of it is that in his new book, Our Choice, Al Gore includes a poem of his own writing-- "21 lines of verse that are equal parts beautiful, evocative, and disturbing".

Apparently, Gore wanted his book to contain one more chapter-- one detailing "the impacts of climate change"-- but his editor refused, intent on keeping the focus on "solutions, not gloom and doom".

(*gasp*  No!  Say it ain't so!)

If you're anything like me, you'll be thrilled to read that, "undeterred by his editor’s ruling, Gore re-imagined his impacts chapter in poetic form."

(*whistling, cheering, clapping*)

More snippets from the article:
The result is a surprisingly accomplished, nuanced piece of writing. The images Gore conjures in his (untitled) poem turn a neat trick: they are visually specific and emotionally arresting even as they are scientifically accurate.

. . .

It’s usually a mistake to read too much literal meaning into poetry. But the final lines of Gore’s poem certainly apply to the governments that will gather in Copenhagen from December 7 to 18 for what is regarded as humanity’s last chance to avert absolutely catastrophic climate change.

. . .

. . .the hour of choosing has indeed arrived and, as documented in Our Choice, we do have the tools to survive—if we choose to employ them.
Well, after such high praise, surely you must be eager to read the magnificent poem.

Unfortunately (?), the article only shares fourteen of the twenty-one lines of sheer brilliance:

One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea

. . .

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

. . .

The shepherd cries
The hour of choosing has arrived
Here are your tools

Ugh.  What a total gag-fest.

And if Al Gore's a poet, I must be a brilliant nuclear physicist.  (Which I'm most decidedly not, I assure you.)