Poetry on Weather

“A hurricane or storm over Yemen” by NASA on Unsplash

Like most people in 21st century America, I’ve lived through a good bit of weather: historic blizzards, historic heat waves, historic hurricanes, historic droughts, historic rains. One thing I’ve never experienced personally is a tornado, but I’m okay with that.

Weather has been a rich subject for poets across all boundaries. No matter our country, continent, time, or season, we all experience weather in very intimate ways. If we commute, the rain or snow can tangle up our days; if we garden, the sun and rain can feed us; if we take our leisure time outdoors, the weather can delight us — or make us miserable.

No matter how old and cranky I get, I remain a fan of the British Romantic poets. Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley is, I admit it, a little adolescent (“A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed / One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.”), but it still thrills me.

Remember “Who Has Seen the Wind?” by Christina Rossetti?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind? 
Neither you nor I. 
But when the trees bow down their heads, 
The wind is passing by.

More modern poems about weather include Snow by Naomi Shihab Nye and Flood by Eliza Griswold.

Not surprisingly, poems “about” weather, whether old or new, are often about something else, too. Poets are devious.

Here’s one of my poems “about” weather, in this case, Hurricane Matthew, which raked the Southeast coast of America in 2016. It was originally published in Tuck Magazine, and picked up by a reporter for a regional South Carolina magazine who wrote an article about it, including an audio recording of the poem.

4 thoughts on “Poetry on Weather

  1. Interesting structure with a hurricane’s aftermath described on the left and thoughts, exposition, introspection on the right, like before and after. I really like this and how you echo this in the image of players batting balls back and forth on a tennis court. I also love your pun “bone-fire.”

    Like

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