Al Gore’s latest book has just hit the bookshops. Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis is a lavishly illustrated handbook for climate-change activism. “Our Choice gathers in one place all of the most effective solutions that are available now and that, together, will solve this crisis,” he says in the introduction. “It is meant to depoliticize the issue as much as possible and inspire readers to take action—not only on an individual basis but as participants in the political processes by which every country, and the world as a whole, makes the choice that now confronts us.”

There is even a “young reader edition” for bedtime reading, with all the complex diagrams and mathematical analysis in An Inconvenient Truth condensed into memorable slogans for tender minds.

Ever since losing the 2000 election, Mr Gore has showed that he is many things: not just a politician, but a showman to shame P.T. Barnum, a businessman, a film producer, and a Nobel Prize winner. Now, it seems, he is vying to become the poet laureate of climate change. The introduction features this 21-line poem, or seven terse haikus strung together on a thread of fearful prognistication. Mark Hertsgaard, writing in Vanity Fair, praised it as “beautiful, evocative, and disturbing”. The last adjective is right – the metre and metaphors certainly are disturbing for anyone who appreciates poetry. It’s as if Helen Steiner Rice had tried to put the Book of Revelations into verse.

Here it is – a MercatorNet exclusive (pirated from a book in Borders):

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

Who is the shepherd, do you think? Who is guiding us into the land of milk and honey? Who is ringing the bells in the City on the Hill? Is it Al the Prophet? What are the tools? His book? If we all buy one for Christmas, will Al become very rich?

I have heard it said that in the United States there are 1 million people who read poetry – and 2 million people who write it. Give it up, Al. Stick to writing memos.

Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet