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banner - plaint of a southern storm

by John C. Trautwine

Oh, big brother "Low" in the wild wooly West,
How goes it with you? I am doing my best
To serve jealous Zeus with ginger and zest.

But sad is our lot, now that the wireless is here;
They're "on to our curves," be it stormy or clear,
Oh, Jupiter Pluvius, shed a large tear!

In the good days of old when the world was all free,
We dash's thousands of innocents into the sea;
But now with the wireless such things can not be.

I passed the Bahamas; the Gulf Stream I crossed,
You come from Saskatchewan, whitened with frost,
We joined hands together - e'en so we are lost.

For what can we do when man's voice is so strong,
And his eyes see so far, and his ears are so long?
We clumsy old storms can but blunder along.

We twist or we turn, we diminish or grow,
We back or go forward, we rain or we blow;
But they know what we're up to each time, even so.

For the Captain he goes to the speaking tube near,
And whistles for "Wireless" to lend him his ear;
"Say, boy, watch that tropical storm, will you? Hear?"

"Ay, ay, sir,"says Bill and five minutes to ten
He tunes up for Arlington, listens - and then
He writes it down thus in his tight little den -

"Advisory storm warning issued to-night,
With signals from Tampa to Nantucket Light,
Disturbance increasing - storm not at its height;

"Moving swiftly from Florida north by northeast,
Is a dangerous storm and the winds have increast,
And shipping is warned to be cautious at least."

So Billy reported it all to the "cap;"
"Oh, ho," says the Captain, I don't give a rap
For a storm I can watch clear across the whole map!

"I'm going to bunk now," says Captain to Mate,
"Just steer a bit west, and run a bit late;
We can make for Bar Harbor, and there we can wait."

And the tale of this ship's not unique - "believe me,"
It happens aboard scores of ships on the sea
That are fitted with wireless - to foil you and me.

And so it goes on, every night, every day;
The vessels just scamper clear out of our way -
Can't even get near them - it's useless, I say.

For what can we do when man's voice is so strong,
And his eyes see so far, and his ears are so long?
Alas! We poor storms can but blunder along.

We twist or we turn, we diminish or grow,
We back or go forward, we rain or we blow;
But they know what we're up to each time, even so.


Mr. John C. Trautwine, a civil engineer of Philadelphia, Pa., and well known as the author of the Civil Engineer's Pocket Book, has a wireless receiving station which he uses merely as a personal diversion and pastime. One night recently, after receiving a hurricane warning issued by the Weather Bureau and sent out by the Government radio plant at Arlington, Va., he was prompted to write the above lines. [In: Weather Bureau Topics and Personnel, October 1916, pp. 7-8.]




Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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