mid-1940's, Southern Region Headquarters published a delightful newsletter
named “The BREEZE.” This newsletter was an amalgam of
“fun” news about Weather Bureau employees, biographical
sketches of various employees, occasional letters home from employees
on military furlough and the sons, husbands, and brothers of those
serving in the front lines, station histories, descriptions of various
weather service products, services, and procedures. Interspersed in
these prose efforts were the occasional poems, some quite good, some
mediocre, and some approaching atrocious doggerel. Taken as a whole,
the poetry served as a way of celebrating the joy of the work on the
one hand, and served as an acceptable means to voice complaints on
the other. Following are poetry selections from “The BREEZE.”
Ina L. Jenkins
Let’s keep its name – “The Breeze”!
These others do not please.
A “hurricane” soon spends its strength
And rubbish strews its path;
A “grapevine” smells of sour grapes
And, some think, “Grapes of Wrath.”
A “chatterbox” is much too loud
And noisy to be heard;
And the “back fence” has been blown down
And that’s no “weather” word!
So let us name it something like
The gentle wind that blows
Nobody any harm at all
And whispers as it goes.
“The Breeze.” Vol. 2, No. 2, March 10, 1945. P. 2.
poem was written in response to the Southern Region Headquarters request
for suggestions to name its monthly newsletter. Apparently Volume
I of this newsletter had been named “The Breeze” and this
poem staunchly advocated retaining that name as well as providing
a delightful description of the nature of a breeze. “The BREEZE”
as a name carried the day.
A ‘FRONTAL’ DREAM
Thomas E. Street
With apologies to Vivian K. Shultz, author of A Meteordream,
which appeared in the BREEZE in January 1944.
I had a dream the other night –
This wasn’t frightening,
I saw a ‘front’ pass overhead –
As plain as anything.
It towered up into the sky,
A gray and cloudy wall;
And from the forward side of it
Much snow was seen to fall.
‘Sharpest’ front that e’er was seen
I thought, still in my dream.
A foot or so in thickness
Was all that it did seem.
The air on either side was clear
Up to the ‘high o’ercast;’
But just below the overhang
Gray clouds of snow fell fast.
What kind of front? Now don’t ask me –
(An analyst’s nightmare)
Eighty degrees or so – its slope –
A warm front? If you dare!
And yet it moved from west to east
But just above the ground;
Might here appear more sound.
Then I awoke, the covers light,
I shivered in the blast
Much colder than when I retired
A cold front must have passed!
“The Breeze.” Vol. 2, No. 2, March 10, 1945. P. 13.
Intermittent rain, I’ve learned,
Which forecasts tell about,
Is rain that stops when I go in
And starts when I come out.
“The Breeze.” Vol. 2, No. 8, September 10, 1945. P. 6.
THE ADVENTURES OF ANNIE MOMETER
Lorena Pepper, Ketchikan, Alaska
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through
Not a creature was stirring, but Anne, and a mouse.
The gadgets were clean and shiny with care,
And Annie* was hoping that the night would be fair.
The offgoing observer had gone for the day
With visions of eggnog ‘fore hitting the hay.
Anne pulled off her kerchief; hung it up in the hall
And sat down to work (She was right on the ball.) –
When out on the grounds there arose such a clatter **
She sprang from the desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
A cloud o’er the face of the moon was then going
Leaving just light enough to show Anne it was snowing.
More rapid than eagles to record it she flew
Though, beefing enroute at the change in the view.
She knew kids the next morning would shout with delight
But it snowed and it stopped, required specials all night.
At zero four hundred on Greenwich CT
Snow stopped, the sky got as clear as could be.
The alcohol dropped down to twenty below
But Anne took a pibal, waist deep in the snow.
She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work
And plotted the pibal; then turned with a jerk***
She tried to lay finger aside of her nose
But couldn’t quite make it; the finger was froze.
At zero eight hundred, came relief with a whistle
And Anne disappeared like the down of a thistle.
She was heard to exclaim, skirting snowdrifts so steep,
“Happy Christmas to others, for me just some sleep!”
* The observer on duty.
** Caused by snowflakes grating against each other as they fell.
*** She was too cold to turn smoothly.
“The Breeze.” Vol. 2, No. 11, December 10, 1945. P. 8.
MORE MEAN WEATHER
Frank T. Cole, OIC WBO, Mobile
Rains intermittent may be mean,
As the Crestview observer complains,
But they are better by far than those
That “unheated objects” enclose –
I’m talkin’ ‘bout freezing rains.
You step outside to take an ob
And plenty of action ensues
Lose control of your feet – you go down with a wham
And certainly following this grand slam
Your weight doesn’t rest in your shoes.
After a hasty reconnaissance
To see who’s looking, you climb
To your feet, gather glasses and hat,
Do a hundred yards in nothing, flat,
To file the report on time.
This is the burden of my song –
The moral that it contains:
Though rain intermittent gets in your hair,
With freezing rain it can never compare
When it comes to inflicting sprains.
An Anonymous Woman Meteorologist
Five runaway cloudlets danced over the hill;
With sunbeams for partners, they couldn’t keep still.
Their mother lay sleeping upon the horizon –
As lovely a cloud as you ever set eyes on.
A saucy South wind blew her slumbers away –
She looked for her children and cried in dismay,
“My quints! They are gone! Like Bo-peep she went hunting,
And found to her joy every lost Baby Bunting.
The cloudlets she spanked, and they burst into tears –
And that’s why your picnic was ruined, my dears.
“The Breeze.” Vol. 4, No. 2, March 10, 1947. P. 16.
WHEN IN DROUGHT
Ray D. Knight
For years, the scientific brain
Has sought a way to make it rain,
And, recently, this was in vain
Attempted from an aeroplane.
While tossing out dry ice into
The unprecipitated blue,
It was assumed there would ensue
A shower that was overdue.
How dull the men of science are!
They could have merely washed a car.
the Jacksonville Journal and reprinted in:
In: “The Breeze.” Vol. 4, No. 9, p. 6. October 10, 1947.
Here lies the body of Jonathan Good,
Who predicted the weather the best that he could.
“Occasional showers,” he’d prophesy,
And the crops would burn in a clear, blue sky.
“Cooler tonight,” was what he said,
And you couldn’t keep cool with ice on your head.
But he can’t go wrong in the place where he got,
For there’s just one prediction:
Weather -- HOT.”
was the inscription which appeared on a postal card recently received
at the Meridian WBO. There was also a dedication: “To the Meridian
Weather Burea – with apologies.”
In: “The Breeze.” Vol. 4, No. 9, p. 7. October 10, 1947.
THE OLD WEATHERMAN
One of Them
in 1939 the Weather Bureau went “International.” It adopted
the European weather code and terminology, increased the regular observations
and forecasts from two to four, expanded its program of upper air
research, and made many changes in organization. Something like the
conditions described below followed these changes.
The Weatherman sat looking over his map
At the end of a worrisome day.
It rained and had snowed, and he vowed “he’d be blowed”
If he knew why it happened that way.
He had forecast straight “fair” from the
high “upper air”
And the chart of the isallobars.
But a so-called “occlusion” had proved a delusion –
Like a treaty supposed to end wars.
He thought of the time when the old weather map
Was compact, concise, and complete
With ten kinds of weather, (there are now ninety-nine),
And rain was called rain, and sleet, sleet.
His map’s now all cluttered with hieroglyphics
Like those used by Pharaohs of old,
One hundred and twenty (twenty-five would be plenty),
But use them he must, he is told.
Isobars on his map, once in inches were drawn,
But now he must use millibars
For which no one hankers except the experts
In calculus, boomerangs, and stars.
In those halcyon days (not so long in the past)
His station was known by a name.
Now the stations are numbered from two to eight hundred, --
Maybe regimentation’s to blame.
For him, once, a “Crick” was a place to
Now the word makes him mad, he gets sore.
Another moot topic is “charts, isentropic,”
Shades of Greely, Gregg, Willis L. Moore.
What with air-mass analysis, partial catalysis,
Neutralized air from Peru,
Mass instability, long range futility,
No wonder his lapse rate’s askew.
He thought of our weather, American weather,
From Tatoosh to Florida’s shore.
No systems Norwegian, Showhegian, Fuegian,
Rose up to bemuse weather lore.
And as he was thinking he might take to drinking,
He glanced out his window, and there
The weather was clearing, the snow disappearing,
He forgot all his gloom and despair.
So he threw out his chest, looked again toward the
Saw the sun set a beautiful red.
Then he checked anemometer, wind-vane, barometer
And went home to supper and bed.
“The Breeze.” Vol. 5, No. 7, pp. 4-5. August 10, 1948.
Walter J. Bennett
I won $10 on a love poem once,” said the OIC
of the Jacksonville WBO as he presented us this pair of Italian sonnets
for the BREEZE. No such earthy proof of Mr. Bennett’s literary
skill is needed, we think you’ll agree – particularly
if you’ve tried to turn out an Italian sonnet lately. Mr. Bennett
too modestly dubs the following, written while he was a sophomore
at the University of Cincinnati, “A very sophomoric effort in
sonnet writing some 50 years ago by an embryo weatherman.”
The black storm clouds have blotted out the sky
And left the earth in shadow and in fear.
The lurid lightning as a fiery spear
Pierces the gloom but to intensify
Its blackness; while the angry thunder’s cry
Wakes rudely the harsh echoes far and near.
The rain pours down; the wind with moaning drear
Catches, distorts and sends it swirling by.
There is another tempest in my soul
That puts the warring element to shame.
Throughout the troubled gloom no hope is found.
Fierce passions struggling for my heart’s control
Contend, and yet unite for this one aim:
To leave all desolate their battle ground.
The sun has driven every cloud away
And now in matchless splendor reigns supreme.
The gladdened earth responds to every beam
And greets with smiling face the lord of day.
Mid flowers bright the fragrant breezes play.
The birds are answering yonder rippling stream
With happy mirthful cadences that seem
To call the world to love and laugh and play.
My heart is bright as yonder radiant sun
And glows with joy as with a kindred flame
For mine is youth and pleasure, love and mirth.
Fair hope presents me crowns already won.
Who then my careless merriment shall blame?
T’is good to live on such a beauteous earth!
“The Breeze.” Vol. 5, No. 10, p. 5. November 10, 1948.
Have you noticed it’s the weather man
Whom people talk about?
I once believed implicitly
But I’ve begun to doubt.
I think it is a lady
Up there above the sky,
Who causes heavy rainstorms
Or makes warm breezes sigh.
One day she feels so happy,
The sun begins to shine,
We think that spring has really come
For that’s a well-known sign.
And then without a warning
She changes overnight,
The skies are dark and gloomy,
No ray of sun in sight.
That’s why I feel the way I do,
‘Tis known since time began
That such an imp of fickleness
Could never be a man!
Does Joy Whiteside realize
Her theorem is shrewdly wise?
The imp behind the clouds, I ween,
May be a dame, tho never seen.
But on the ground, where weather’s made,
We have to work with woman’s aid.
Small wonder then, the product’s fickle, -
The girls just keep it in a pickle.
Our customers will be in clover
When once again the men take over.
Or will they?
“The BREEZE”, Vol 3, no. 5. June 10, 1946. P. 4.
Gladys L. Smith, Crestview OIC
Weatherwoman or weatherman??
Of this I have no doubt:
A weatherman would surely leave
Smoke and dust about.
And when you hear the thunder roar
And see the lightning flash
And raindrops cool and clean and fresh
Against the windows splash,
be sure as you can be
There simply is no doubt –
The weatherwoman busily
Is putting them to rout.
Bernice T. Callier, Apalachicola WBO
We weather observers of feminine sex
Plainly have the weatherman vexed –
In condemnation he’s so zealous,
Of our intuition he must be jealous.
“The BREEZE”, Vol 3, no. 6. July 10, 1946. P. 3.
Bernice T. Callier, Apalachicola WBO
The holidays are over –
“H” hour (we fear) is near,
A quenchless thirst for knowledge
Observers’ brains does sear.
We study everything we can
In endless physics books:
The laws of Boyle and Charles and Ohm,
Not overlooking Hooke’s.
Humphreys, Petterssen and Brunt
Are all old friends to us,
And over trig and algebra
We’re making quite a fuss!
My young daughter recently
Summed up my situation:
“Before this test is over, Mom,
You’ll have quite an education.”
“The BREEZE”, Vol 3, No. 12. January 10, 1947. P. 3.
Bernice T. Callier, Apalachicola WBO
The day is nearly over and the sun has left the sky,
It’s time to take the window; and the fog is blowing by,
For every night it happens just before my “ob’s”
With promptness that is unsurpassed, the fog blows up the street.
Now freezing rain to some gives pain, and keeps them in a dither,
Intermittent rain makes some exclaim, “Oh blazes! What mean
But fog, I think, should take the cake – my word – the
way it fluctuates!
It’s in, it’s out – my mind’s in doubt, it’s
here, it’s there, it’s all about –
I’ve now decided what to send – the fog’s blown
out to sea again.
“The BREEZE”, Vol 3, No. 4. May 10, 1946. P. 6.