Archive for the ‘climate change’ Tag

NaPoMo (n+3): a clarification

The two or three poems inspired yesterday by a Guardian interview with social scientist Mayer Hillman (see the two previous posts), also prompted one reader to comment on the poems, two of which use Mayer’s own words expressing the sentiment that, given civilization is doomed, we’d be better to attend other, more pleasant matters, such as music, love, education, and happiness.

The comment inadvertently touched on the issue of the truth of poetry and the poet’s relation to the thoughts expressed by the words of the poem, that yesterday’s three, impromptu poems might suggest some agreement with Hillman’s gloom and prescriptions.

Five years back mulling over the same matter I composed an ironic indictment, which, Luitspelende jonge manafter some little fiddling this morning, turned out, spontaneously, to be the fourteen-line poem that follows. Whether it provides any clarification as to my own stance on the issue, I leave to the reader.

 

Chance Sonnet: 

“BE IT RESOLVED…”

 

BE IT RESOLVED that

whereas public officials

who deny the reality

 

of Anthropogenic Climate Change

and hinder efforts to mitigate

its destructive effects present

 

a clear and present danger

to themselves and others,

said public officials should be

 

removed from office forthwith

and placed under a physician’s care

until such time as their suicidal

 

and/or homocidal and/or ecocidal

tendencies cease to present.

NaPoMo (n+2): Two for Mayer Hillman

Two for Mayer Hillman

 

1.

So much depends

upon

 

fossil fuels except

music,

 

love, education, and

happiness.

 

Focus on these

things.

 

 

2.

Asked what he would do were the world to end

next day, Luther replied, “Plant an apple tree.”

NaPoMo (n): a serendipitous poem

Combing through with no small pleasure the Seculum trilogy of Peter Dale Scott, HP Lego yarn twister 01preparing a talk I’m to give at a humanities conference at the end of May, I wound up at the same time in a short Facebook thread back and forth with a teaching colleague, which inspires the improvised poem, dedicated to him, below:

 

So many aspects of life

For Shawn Bell, composer

 

We read the same Guardian article

this morning, though you chose to share it.

 

Mayer Hillman, 86: We’re doomed

…making a case for [re?]cycling…

 

is almost irrelevant. We’ve got to stop

burning fossil fuels. I commented

 

you’d forgotten his most important words:

Standing in the way is capitalism

 

Your reply in its current form

and though I am not unacquainted

 

with Isaiah’s singing the lion shall lie down

with the lamb and I’m the first

 

to remark the confusion of first

and second nature in Adorno’s

 

If the lion had a consciousness

his rage at the antelope he wants

 

to eat would be ideology

I answered The dream of postwar

 

social democracy that capitalism

could be tamed by the rule of law

 

is as realistic as thinking

a lion can be trained to be vegan

 

And though we continued twisting into

that thread strands of current models


of socio-economic organization

in particular capitalism and socialism

 

big data and AI

The Communist Hypothesis

 

and the Enlightenment’s faith

in its overcoming its own

 

fateful dialectic Hillman’s words

free of the snarl

 

of our disagreement

need here be repeated

 

So many aspects of life

depend on fossil fuels

 

except for music

and love and education

 

and happiness. These things

we must focus on.

 

 

 

 

 

On the end of the Doha Climate Change Conference: a poem and commentary

Brushfires from Colorado
to Croatia; floodwaters
deeper than memory

drown southern Russia
and Thailand; tornadoes
plough the Midwest;

record hurricanes on
the Eastern Seaboard.
Humanity betrays all

the collective intelligence
of a bacterium
in a petri dish.

Although the poem above was composed in Berlin this past summer, today its sentiment seems prescient of what many of those of us who care about the fate of civilization feel. A lone voice speaks to the issue in Canada’s parliament, and in the face of suicidal official denial and incapacity, it would be barbaric not to lend a poetic voice in support. Posting a poem, of all things, must seem a futile gesture, but its impulse takes inspiration from Luther, who, asked what he would do if he knew the world were to end tomorrow answered, “Plant an apple tree.”