Friday, June 25, 2010

Self Portrait, an Etheree Poem

I'm told that when I fly somewhere it's like driving myself to wherever I'm going in a big ol' Hummer. All by myself. So the passenger cabin is like a huge caravan of Hummers way up high....and all the tailpipes spew the exhaust 7 miles up, where it does more damage....

Knowing this takes a lot of the fun out of flying for me. If I had to drive a Hummer solo to Ireland I'm sure I'd find a vacation closer to home.

But I'm not immune to the intoxication of  air travel, so for now I just close my heart and pretend it's less damaging to the atmosphere than it really is. I feel terrible about it. I sort of ignore my guilty feelings about the selfishness of flying. That's where this poem comes from.

free," I said,
"credit card miles."
I shut out the cries
from my heart and the hearts
of all life as yet unborn
who will pay immeasurable
costs for this phony freedom conjured
without shame by banks, big oil, airlines, me.

Consisting of ten lines, the Etheree poem starts with a one syllable line, then adds one syllable per line, until the last line of ten syllables for an overall syllable count of 55. In other words the syllabic structure is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. It’s an uncomplicated, unpretentious form of poetry that has the quality of slowly opening, like a flower.


steven said...

when i fly i buy carbon offsets. when i travel in a car i buy carbon offsets. the reality is that even though they balance out on paper, the damage being done doesn't know about that agreement. so i walk and bike as much as i can. what a picture though!!! a peaceful day my friend. steven

Dan Gurney said...

steven, I think you're leading the way. You don't even drive! I drive, but not too much. I fly only rarely, but I'm flying twice this year and feeling remorseful about it.

Isn't that a great photo for this Etheree? I felt lucky to find it.

Stream Source said...

Really love the photo ... and the Etheree ~

I was having this discussion, just yesterday, with my husband. The pressure is mounting to more often 'walk the walk'. We are actually very conscientious about travel, with one HUGE exception, that we just can circumvent. That is, that my husband's job requires him to fly A LOT. It makes me sick to think of this, but he is our only source of income at present and we can't bring ourselves to pull the plug on his job with less than two years to go until retirement. The best we can do is work as an insider with his company to encourage teleconferencing. But because, as with many corporations that have moved to a corporate hub structuring with satellite facilities, they no longer have the proper specialty staff at each remote location. So lots of people have to fly all over. IT'S CRAZY!

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you SS. We've got to make a lot of changes or we'll make ourselves far more miserable than we already are!