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Al Gore's "One thin September soon"

Updated on December 3, 2017
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

After I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962, poetry became my passion.

Polar Bears

Source

Introduction and Text of Piece, "One thin September soon"

The former vice-president's untitled piece of doggerel appears in his book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, which purportedly offers the antidote to "global warming."

Gore's untitled verse is chopped up into seven three-line sets, which may charitably be labeled tercets. In this farcical verse, the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) fanatic pontificates from the position of a shepherd, who is crying to the world about the impending doom, which mankind is causing through the use of fossil fuels.

The former failed presidential candidate fancies himself a kind of modern-day John-the-Baptist crying in the wilderness, which is growing hotter and drier year after year, despite the fact that there has been no "warming" since February 1997.

One thin September soon

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

Al Gore reads his "poem"

Commentary

First Tercet: Beginning With a Fantasy

One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun

Gore's speaker begins his piece by asserting that soon one of these Septembers—and it will be a "thin" September, not like the usual thick Septembers—the midnight sun will embrace the disappearance of a continent that floats.

This first assertion presents several problems:

  1. it must be referring only to the continents at the Earth's extreme north and south;
  2. floating continents exist only in fantasy,
  3. he has to be referring to Antarctica because the Arctic is not a continent at all;
  4. the midnight sun refers to a phenomenon that occurs in summer at each pole when the sun does not set.

For the midnight sun reference, the speaker would have to be referring to the non-continent Arctic because he names the month of September. There would be midnight sun in the first three weeks of September at the North Pole but not at the South, whose summer is from December 22 to March 21.

This confusion of poles gets the verse off to an inauspicious start. The reader might remember that the composer of this pigswill is a man who is supposedly steeped in scientific studies in support of his global warming theory.

Second Tercet: The Conundrum of Postmodern Claptrap

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea
Neptune's bones dissolve

According to global warming proponents, ocean waters are becoming acidic because of the lethal effects that the warming is having on various sea creatures, including coral and urchins. Gore's speaker refers to these sea creatures as Neptune's bones that are dissolving.

The absurd conflation of the bones of a mythological god and sea creatures bends the piece to the frowziness of postmodernism, where nothing matters because nothing makes sense.

Yet this man of hard science wants to influence politicians and governments to make policies that will affect all citizens worldwide.

Third Tercet: A Pile of Images

Snow glides from the mountain
Ice fathers floods for a season
A hard rain comes quickly

Because of the warming, snows begin to loosen and slide down mountains while melting ice gluts the ocean, and then the rains begin, those horrid rains! And they are "hard" rains—call that other noted poetaster, Bob Dylan.

The politician-turned-poetaster then makes those three claims of the melting that the earth is enduring: all obviously caused by the heat, all slapped together without punctuation or conjunction, possibly because everything is happening almost simultaneously. As the snow and ice suddenly become a hard rain, the reader might then suspect the need of an ark promptly.

Fourth Tercet: As Lightning Celebrates

Then dirt is parched
Kindling is placed in the forest
For the lightning's celebration

However, the next scene takes the reader to dry land where dirt is parched, and out of the blue, someone has placed small slips of wood in a forest where lightning can catch them to flame as it celebrates.

The doggerelist does not reveal who placed that "[k]indling" in the forest so that lightning could set it aflame for its celebration. Why, one might wonder, would lightning be "celebrating" anyway?

Fifth Tercet: Getting Ready for the Apocalypse

Unknown creatures
Take their leave, unmourned
Horsemen ready their stirrups

There are many species of animals on Antarctica, but Gore's speaker chooses to claim that they are unknown as they "[t]ake their leave."

It seems that such a situation would merit some drama, instead of the faint, euphemistic "take their leave." But then they are unmourned. He, no doubt, would at least have them be mourned, despite their being unknown.

Perhaps the most bizarre and useless line in the entire piece is, "Horsemen ready their stirrups." There seems to be no reason for that line, for connects to nothing. And if the bizarre notion of an allusion to the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" springs to mind, it will offer no resolution of any kind. The Book of Revelation has suffered many absurd interpretations, and if Gore's speaker is attempting to add another, it results in the lamest of the lame.

Sixth Tercet: A Gorean City on the Hill

Passion seeks heroes and friends
The bell of the city
On the hill is rung

The brave shepherd is passionately seeking others who will help him get his message out, that the earth is becoming a scorched, iceless dustbowl with the oceans rising.

The speaker/shepherd now credits himself with ringing that all important bell in that all important place—that "city / On the hill." The solipsism of this piece is nausea invoking.

Could the city on the hill be that same place to which President Ronald Reagan referred?

A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.

It is likely that Gore's speaker does, in fact, refer to that same place, but for very different reasons, for the policies thus far suggested to stop global warming would stifle the individualism and freedom of all world citizens, especially those in Third-World nations.

Seventh Tercet: The Shepherd Handing Over the Tools

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

In the final three-line set, Gore's speaker reports that he, as this good crying shepherd, is telling his listeners that the time for action is at hand, and he ass hereby come to hand to them all the tools they need.

This self-important, fake-science spewing "shepherd" is offering in his new book the necessary "tools" that his sheep will need as they waddle with him down this fantastical path to an Earth-saving global temperature. Whatever that is?

Excellent Lampoon of Gore's Doggerel

Reagan's Quotation

Source

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

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