This poem is a rondeau about electromagnetic energy. It was inspired by the book The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life by Arthur Firstenberg and by the song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan.
The rain that falls is energy—
An artificial field or sea;
Created by combustion’s fires,
It travels round the world by wires,
Then falls upon each man and tree.
Our way of life is such that we
Cannot avoid catastrophe;
Devices rule, and they require
The rain that falls.
All life now dwells in misery;
We can’t escape from this debris;
How did our lives become so dire?
The one who warned was called a liar;
Did prophets long ago foresee
The rain that falls?
Some relevant quotations:
We are living in a world where information does not increase knowledge, nor open eyes. The cultural barriers are too great. Society has been in denial for too long. And yet it is impossible to continue on the present path any longer. Decisions are being made to intensify the global microwave rain, before 2020, from a steady drizzle to a downpour. Instead of cell towers every few miles, there are going to be cell towers every few houses. This is already being implemented…. Although the new antennas are small—little boxes on top of telephone poles—they expose the population to tens or hundreds of times more radiation than the tall structures they are replacing. (Firstenberg, Arthur. The Invisible Rainbow)
Four billion people, you see, still have little or no access to the Internet. And the remedy for that deficiency is now at hand, via balloons, drones, or satellites from space. Humankind is now willing and able to finally fulfill the original promise of the telegraph, put into words for the first time a century and a half ago. Space and time are poised to be thoroughly annihilated. That promise, however, is the ultimate Trojan horse, containing within it an unsuspected threat: the annihilation or severe impoverishment of life itself. Unsuspected, that is, by those who cannot yet see what is happening. Those of us with EHS [electromagnetic hypersensitivity] who remember the beginning of satellite phone service foresee catastrophe. (Firstenberg, Arthur. The Invisible Rainbow)
…the safe level of exposure to radio waves is zero. (Firstenberg, Arthur. The Invisible Rainbow)
It is a problem that pits the apparent ease of living, the limitless power at our fingertips brought to us by electrical technology, against the unavoidable, irreversible effects of that same technology on the natural world of which we are part. The unfolding human rights emergency, already affecting perhaps one hundred million people worldwide, and the environmental emergency threatening so many plant and animal species with extinction, must be faced with open eyes. (Firstenberg, Arthur. The Invisible Rainbow)
No, it’s not atomic rain, it’s just a hard rain. It isn’t the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that’s just gotta happen … (Bob Dylan)
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
“Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”
Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered,
“Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant,
Houses are without people
And the land is utterly desolate,
“The Lord has removed men far away,
And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
“Yet there will be a tenth portion in it,
And it will again be subject to burning,
Like a terebinth or an oak
Whose stump remains when it is felled.
The holy seed is its stump.”
(Isaiah 6:8-13, New American Standard Bible)