February 14, 2014

Climate Pickup Lines

Over at Twitter, people are going nuts over the hashtag #‎climatepickuplines in honour of Valentine's Day. My favourite comes from @GaryPardy: " My love for you is like the ocean... expanding at an alarming rate."

Or this one by @B_A_D: "What do u say? U, me, a pair of hand cuffs, & the corporate headquarters of ur choice."

Photo by Johntex

Which got me thinking.

And as so often on the internet, one thing leading to another, I found Shakespeare's Sonnet CXXIX, which is arguably the best-worded advice never followed. Changing a single word changes it into a call for reducing consumption.


Th' expense of carbon in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
     All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
     To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.


Come to think of it, a lot of poetry has acquired an overlay of meaning for me, ever since I woke up to the reality of climate change. Now, undercurrents of sea level rise go through my head when I read the opening lines to Spencer's famous sonnet:

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washèd it away...

And then there's D.H. Lawrence's paean to the love life of the elephant, slow moving like the climate but a force of nature once awakened - and even ending in the word "flood".


The elephant, the huge old beast,
     is slow to mate;
he finds a female, they show no haste
     they wait

for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts
     slowly, slowly to rouse
as they loiter along the river-beds
     and drink and browse

and dash in panic through the brake of forest
     with the herd,
and sleep in massive silence, and wake together,
     without a word.

So slowly the great hot elephant hearts
     grow full of desire,
and the great beasts mate in secret at last,
     hiding their fire.

Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts
     so they know at last
how to wait for the loneliest of feasts
     for the full repast.

They do not snatch, they do not tear;
     their massive blood
moves as the moon-tides, near, more near
     till they touch in flood.


What about it? Care to share any poetry that climate change has coloured forever for you?



Shared at Small Footprint Friday

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think Sonnet 129 is more fitting with the "carbon" substitution in today's world than the original wording....



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