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Solar Poetry : River Valley edition : Sunday, 24 September 2017 08:10 EDT : a service of The Public Press
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Skepticism, like
chastity, should not be
relinquished too readily.
– George Santayana



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Solar Poetry Round-Up

     by Linda Pinkham

Every year at the SolWest Renewable Energy Fair in John Day, Oregon, the featured entertainment at the exhibitor dinner is the Solar and Renewable Energy Poetry Reading. Based in the tradition of Cowboy Poetry, a staple here in the West, solar poetry is making a name for itself as a new literary art form. Some long-time exhibitors come well-prepared with their poems in hand, while others are surprised when Lance Barker, comes by, taps them on the shoulder and says, "Tonight's the solar poetry reading. Can I count on you to recite a poem?" Lance is Jennifer Barker's husband, and she is the dynamo who organizes the fair each year for the last weekend in July.

After Lance's visit, the remainder of the afternoon is then spent in a flurry of pens scratching on notepad pages, along with the occasional scratch of the head while trying to find the perfect rhyme. Here's a selection of this year's poetry, reprinted with permission from the authors and Sol-utions, the newsletter of the Eastern Oregon Renewable Energies Nonprofit (EORENEW). The dates for the 2008 fair are July 25–27, and the fair is held at the Grant County Fairgrounds in downtown John Day. For more information about attendance and activities at the fair, or to inquire about presenting a workshop or hosting an exhibit at SolWest Fair, write or call 541-575-3633 or visit www.solwest.org.

- LP

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Billy and Bobby and Betty McGee


By Tom Bishop, Victor, Montana

(to the rhythm of "Cat in the Hat")
Billy and Bobby and Betty McGee
Sat watching their Saturday morning TV.
Yes, watching TV, and drinking their tea,
Little Billy, and Bobby, and Betty McGee.
Captain Photon, Inspector Gadget, and Scooby Doo too
Had the three young'uns glued to the tube,
When suddenly Bill cried "Look, there's no juice!"
The screen went all dark, the remote was no use.
They looked at each other, didn't know what to do.
Bobby looked forlorn, and Betty looked blue.
The fridge and the clock, and the cookstove too
Were deader than doornails, so to the basement they flew!
"Hey, I think we can solve this," shouted Betty with glee.
"Not by myself, but all of us three…
Go look in the pantry, go look in the hall,
Go look in the yard, and behind the back wall."
Into a tub went some paint and some glue,
An old feather pillow, and Mom's makeup too,
A bag of cement, a can of bent nails,
All were thrown into this marvelous stew!
One old car battery, two of Dad's shirts,
Betty threw in her old sandals, "We've got to give till it hurts!"
Almost last went the toaster, but out hung the plug,
Finally in went Dad's whiskey, including the jug!
Bobby screamed, "Stand back! It's starting to blub!"
And glub, and splub, and splatter and flub!
When it stopped bubbling and started to set,
Bill, Bob, and Betty know their goal had been met.
They pushed and they shoved, and they pried and they tugged,
Till they got the mess over where they could plug in the plug.
Billy, Bobby, and Betty McGee
Plugged in the mess, and on came the TV!
On came the TV, and the fridge, and the lights.
The kids danced around and laughed in delight!
This can't be working, it can't work at all…
So Betty pulled out the plug from the wall,
Off went the TV, and the fridge, and the clock,
The radio and the blender just came to a stop.
On again, off again, on again… Wow!!
We've found a new source of energy, available NOW!
The children grew famous for their mess in a tub.
It's still working today, but there's one little rub…
The children McGee are only six, four and three.
They didn't write down the formula, because they're too young, you see.
But the lesson to be learned is plain, it's just this --
When you have no ‘lectricity, create your own little mess.
Biodiesel, wind, and solar too,
Can provide power for people like you,
And Billy and Bobby and Betty, and other kids too!

Tom Bishop is the president of Sunelco, Inc, a solar supply company. Order a catalog by calling 800-338-6844 or visiting www.sunelco.com


Solar Poetry '07


By Clean Coal, Salem, Oregon

1.
First, I want to tell you that I have undergone something
   of a transformation,
      where once I was full of consternation.
2.
For I now have the warm and joyful sensation
      of carbon sequestration.
3.
No longer am I burdened with fear
      as I burn into gas and disappear.
4.
My friends, I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!
      It is powerful, mighty, and bright.
5.
For you see, it is the great SUN LORD that enables
   life to grow
      Its mighty power is not just for show.
6.
This growth pulls carbon from the air.
      It stores it up for all to share.
7.
And now with this simple carbon sequestration,
      there can be absolutely no question.
8.
It is the SUN that takes plants and earth through time,
transforming all of you into brethren of mine.
9.
I have but one remaining mission:
      to share with you this amazing vision.
10.
The sun's power and only true goal
      is to turn you all into tiny, beautiful,
      lumps
      of coal.

Topsy Turvy


By Jerry Igo, Mosier, Oregon

We live in a world that is topsy-turvy
Words should be straight, not so darn curvy.
They tell you one thing, it means another,
It's hard to trust people… well, maybe your brother.
Our energy plan is easy to track:
All we need to do is take over Iraq.
Dick Cheney says we'll do it for certain,
With a bit of cooperation from Halliburton.
The Iraqis will welcome us with widespread arms,
Like grenades, IEDs, and Al Qaeda charms.
We've got ourselves in a heckuva mess,
A lose-lose situation, no more and no less.
This nation's invasion isn't according to Hoyle.
All that we wanted was to steal their oil!
Just think of what could have been done instead,
Without all the killing, so many left dead.
A half-trillion dollars in wind and in sun,
Clean energy abundant, without using a gun.
It may be late now for just passing out blame,
Since nearly all of us will share the shame…
There's a way we can get started on the right track.
We put our thoughts and out words and our money
In a future that's windy and clean and sunny,
And historians look at us with thoughts reviewable,
And say: "They got it right with energy renewable!"

Mainstream Dream


By Daniel Pinkham, Medford, Oregon

Not so long ago
We all shared in a dream
Of safety for our children's world
Utopia… it would seem
Where smog is gone,
The air is clean,
And rivers run
with water pure.
But green is more than just a word.
Preceded by the buzz,
It's heard in every circle now
Simply because of what it does.
To market choice
or market share
The gamut is confusing.
Like Pandora's box
the secret's out
No whispers now,
They shout about.
Yes, once we shared a dream
Of a world so fresh and clean.
Yes once we shared a dream
And now it is mainstream.


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River Valley editor: Stephen Morris
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