Ginsberg on CBC 1968 – 2 (Ecology)

Allen Ginsberg, 1970, in Philadelphia, at the first Earth Day

Allen Ginsberg, speaking in Vancouver, 1968, continues from here 

AG: (.. on what would be) the ecological catastrophe-crisis that everybody is becoming increasingly aware of (including probably people that are listening now (1968 (sic)). No point in me yakking about it because I’m not an ecologist or a scientist), but there are a few poetic images that have struck me – that divine profound blue whale that did not appear on the surface of the oceans last year.  It’s the first time in sea history or oceanic memory that the blue whale hasn’t been observed.

 and that many species of mammals have been exterminated, that we have been practicing genocide on large-scale species of birds and fish, insects, that we are ultimately poisoning our own bodies with DDT, that the cutting of trees, to the extent of mowing down of flowers and grass and cutting of trees, is precipitating an oxygen crisis in the upper hemisphere, sooner or later, coming up. – may be irreversible when it starts – if we don’t watch out  –

that the production of gasoline smog and carbon exhaust into the air is forming a layer above the atmosphere which acts like a greenhouse glass, in the sense of letting in heat but not letting it bounce out. so that may endanger the temperature balance of the planet. What we’ve got is a massive technology covering the entire surface of the planet, which is not taking into account its own feedback . In other words, it’s what might be referred to as a “half-assed science”, or a science that is not completed, an incomplete science, in a sense that the waste-products of the industry, the waste-products of the technology, the feces of the technology, the excrement of the technology, is not being properly re-channeled back into the eco-system, but is being dumped on the surface of the planet in a way that’s so random and uncalculated that it’s resulting in a poisoning of the water systems (like the blood-streams, practically). So the killing of the Great Lakes in America  (and in Russia – Lake Baikal  as well as Lake Erie equally poisoned and deadened) are resulting in the cutting off of a valuable water-supply – (food-sources, above all, if for that) – decimation of whole forests – like, I understand the Canadian pine forests are faring ill because all the seedlings are affected by strontium fall-out.

And it’s a very simple formula to understand that, since it’s not taking into account feedback, that its not taking into account the waste-products  (and that’s, so to speak, not taking into..  befouling our own nest). It’s an old human problem, an old animal problem, and, you know, like, people, once they could see it in that perspective, might have the sense to take care of their own waste, the waste-products their own bodies, and, you know, and, presumably, learn how to take care of the waste-products of the civilization, before it’s too late.  Because those waste products could cause diarrhea to the civilization!  (you see, like, when one consumes ones own waste-products, that’s what causes diarrhea, and  so you might say that what we’re encountering now is a condition of civilization-diarrhea, which is despoiling the entire coast system of the planet, down to the very centers of the oceans).

And, as Thor Heyerdahl pointed out, there was garbage floating by in the mid-Atlantic when he went by in his papyrus raft  late this year.  For the first time in any possible science-fiction history –  like old used corks and beer-cans and condoms floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and South America.

So it’s a weird.. you know, something like (Edgar Allan) Poe couldn’t have imagined (appearing to degenerate into..  seeing so much.. it’s hopeless at this point, according to some prophets, who says that the planet is finished – or, the conversation – a chance remark –  “Well, the planet is finished”  – Well, Allen, Hare Krishna, preserver – the realization that Mother Nature is living and sensitive and alive, is a great person (as you can see when you look at her from outer space), is a great blue breathing globe-lung, surrounded by exquisite water and steam, is like a large organism (perhaps, you could practically plant a third eye in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and  say you were dealing with God!) Place where we are is sacred , that we’re in a sacred place, Beulah, planet of green grass, the holy place, and that we’ll have to treat it sacredly, there’s a hint at how we can reconstruct our society, to learn peace with nature instead of a predatory conquest-relationship. (Remember we used to have all this historical balderdash in the history books about man’s “conquest of the West” – the Americans, how the Americans “conquered the West” – Imagine! – you know, like horrific terminology,  it was, like, the horrific Frankenstein-ian mentality – “conquering the virgin territory”! – “the virgin territory!”  Imagine what they were thinking of!  – the rape of the planet!)

[Allen concludes with a rendition, accompanied on the harmonium, of William Blake’s “Introduction to the Songs of Experience” – (“Hear the voice of the Bard!/Who Present, Past & Future sees..”……”O Earth, O Earth return!/ Arise from out the dewy grass./Night is worn/And the morn/Rises from the slumberous mass/  Turn away no more/ Why wilt thou turn away/The starry floor/ The watry shore/ Is giv’n thee till the break of day”)

At approximately twenty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in, the recording concludes (the rest, approximately five minutes,being taken up by light orchestral music)

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