This week on Earthweal Brendan asks: So here we are, not sensing a change but in the naked blast of it, with options limited and dubious and hopes radically diminished. How do we as poets embrace this? What bodies of evidence can we preserve of the moment, its magnitude, the ways we raged and grieved and accepted and changed? Are these documents dumps of dead-end failure? Songs of grief and hope? Paeans of awfulness and awesomeness? Oracles of welcome and despair? https://earthweal.com/2021/08/09/earthweal-weekly-challenge-truth-in-a-world-on-fire/

This is such a huge topic it would take me many poems to write of my rage, my grief and my hope. I am feeling a lot of anger at the moment. It’s not so much a red hot burning rage that our world has come to this but a white hot anger – incandescent and implacable. I’ve been trying to channel it into the novel I am writing. The story is set in the future. Over the weekend I wrote about one of my characters taking a train ride through a climate change ravaged landscape. The train runs on biodiesel made from eucalyptus. This biofuel has very low carbon emissions and is ecologically sustainable. When my character learns the technology to run vehicles on this fuel was available in the 2020s she becomes very angry. To try and work out what she does with the anger I am taking a long look at my own anger. They say ‘write what you know’. This is an anger I know well.

My father was an oil man.
He revered the company name.
For the opposition he used vitriol
but, secretly, as a child
I liked Mobil’s red flying horse.

My father was an oil man.
My teenager brother read Silent Spring.
He argued with dad and they wrestled on the porch.
My father was the stronger. My brother ran away.
I understood that. We both knew the brute force
of the man’s anger hurt when it hit.

My father was an oil man.
Company rank and file. A foot soldier.
I read the other day the bosses knew.
For decades they hid the data –
burning fossil fuels heats up the planet.

My father was an oil man.
He believed in petrol driven progress
until the day he died.
What would he have done, I wonder
if he ‘d been alive to learn
you can fly jet planes on eucalyptus leaves.

My father was oil man.
One of a dying breed.
He wasn’t a bad man.
He worked hard all his life.
When he retired he helped the poor.
His anger was a family thing.
Hidden, secret. Maybe deep down
he knew the life he lived was a lie.

For decades, the country’s leading oil and gas companies have understood the science of climate change and the dangers posed by fossil fuels. Year after year, top executives heard it from their own scientists whose warnings were explicit and often dire.’


23 thoughts on “Rage

  1. Sherry Marr

    Your post and poem resonated, as well as informed. Did not know about eucalyptus leaves. That is where my anger springs from too…..the fact that people knew and destroyed everything anyway for money. I am mad at governments who did not carefully manage resources, gave them to corporations for support of their political ambitions. And now here we are. This post taught me something, which is always cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sherry. Yes I am angry at the same stuff. Sometimes I think those people who talk about reptilians running the world are on to something. Those fossil fuel bosses are cold blooded creatures.


      1. Sherry Marr

        Watching the aggression and violence of the militarized “police” arresting people at Fairy Creek, i have the same thought. It is like they arent human, or are another type of human. No hearts, no consciences. Just raw bullying power.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Alli Templeton

    And all because of money. Human greed strikes again. I hadn’t known about this before, and the fact that they sat on the data for all that time is shameful and utterly irresponsible. Stay angry, Suzanne, because as Audrey rightly says, futile despair – whilst understandable – will produce nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So much here to think about. On the one hand we are all complicit in this march to who knows where – but then there are some among us do know where this leads and bang on their drums to march the marchers along all the same. who knows why or what is in it for them.
    And yay for eucalyptus leaves – absolutely love the smell of their fresh crushed leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rage, grief and hope. I can relate to all those emotions Suzanne. Keep channeling your anger into these poems which also inform and enlighten others. The world needs to wake up to the corruption and greed of so many. And we need to look forward in hope that good will prevail and change will happen. 🙏


  5. I’d forgotten the red flying horse. Ironic, don’t you think? The fossil fuel company with the mark of hubris flying front and center. Ferocious punch at the end, so well done. The oil dominion is so hard to relinquish, even though we know how savagely it’s killing the world. The family drama is perfect for metaphor here. Well done! – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. It’s evolving. I move through feelings to spaces of resolve. My writing is my place where I work through stuff. Meditation and nature are where I find peace. 😀


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