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poems from the thunderer



The farmer carries the burden
To feed the multitude today.
His fields are ready for harvest –
“What does the weather man say?”

Anxiously asks the stockman –
Mowing his fields of hay,
Precious winter feed-stock –
“What does the weatherman say?”

The orchardist feels it cooler,
On his trees the heavy fruits weigh,
“Will it frost tonight – or won’t it?”
“What does the weatherman say?”

City-crowded little children,
Streets their only place to play,
Await the promised picnic.
“What does the weatherman say?”

The lumberman on the mountain
Angrily crunches where it lay –
The smouldering cigarette butt.
“What does the weatherman say?”

The tired business man brightens –
Golf only one night away,
A little relief from the heat and strain—
“What does the weatherman say?”

On his bridge the captain watches,
For his ship the people pray,
Laden with life and food-stuffs –
“What does the weatherman say?”

Where the morning comes like thunder
O’er the shores of old Bombay’
The pilot twirls the dial --
“What does the weatherman say?”

In: The Thunderer, Volume I, Number 2, July 1944, p. 5.


Modified by Lucille Enke
and Lorraine Stone

Who pores all day o’er map and charts
And atmospheric sighing;
Who looks for fog, or storms, or worse,
So we can keep ‘em flying.

Who tells em’ where and when to fly
Which way the wind is blowing;
Who tells em’ what the weather is
Wherever they are going?

There’d never be a bombing raid
On any Axis nation
If our reports were not received
From every little station.

We Weather Girls are who I mean,
We’re seldom ever lauded
For what we’ve done to save the ships
In fogs and storms enshrouded.

We work all day on maps and charts
Until the sunset’s dying,
And then the night girl takes my place –
Our job’s to “Keep em’ Flying.”

In: The Thunderer, Volume I, Number 4, September 15, 1944.



Isotherms and isobars,
Little whirligigs and jars—
Things like that I can’t deny
This poor brain can mystify.
Yet I’m strong for all the chaps
Who devise those squiggly maps,
For you must admit the guess
Tallies rather more than less,
And when they prognosticate,
I for one, will freely state
That it’s grand when they declare
Simply “Moderate and Fair.”
Yep, I get a keen delight
When the weatherman is right.

Isobars and isotherms –
Those are pretty hefty terms.
Pressures, fronts and anything
Of the sort could never ring
Any mental bell for me,
Dumb-bell I in ology.
So when sages aren’t too sharp
Do I slyly sniff and carp?
If they say it’s going to go
Maybe down to ten below
And I wake at twenty-plus,
Do I fume and do I fuss?
Nope! I placidly infer
Man if often prone to err –
Life can seem a grand, sweet song
When the weatherman is wrong!

In: The Thunderer, Volume I, Number 9, February 1945. P. 2.


By F. J. Winters, formerly at San Francisco WBO
and an aerologist with the Navy at the time of publication

You’ve seen us in the bar rooms
And almost everywhere,
But we’re seldom ever heard about
‘Cause no one seems to care.
Weather is a tiresome job
That certainly must be done,
But it’s H___, let me tell you,
When the storms begin to come.

You start to file your weather
When the rain begins to fall.
You change it to a special
Then, there ain’t no rain at all.
The forecaster is a-yelling,
Where H___’d you put the map?
When all the time it’s practically
A-laying in his lap.

The teletype is garbling bad
And the code won’t break at all.
And you’re constantly reminded
By a notice on the wall
That he who fails to do his job
Before he goes to bed,
Will sweat on extra duty
Till he wishes he were dead.

When I think of how I left my home,
My bed, and yes, my wife,
To wet-nurse a grouchy forecaster
For the rest of my natural life,
I long to drown my troubles in
Cool draughts of gin and beer,
But the Captain shakes his finger
Says, “None of that stuff over here.”

For twenty-four hours a day,
And seven days a week,
This thing goes on indefinitely
‘Till you’re much too tired to speak.
So now I’ve told you ‘bout the life
Of a poor Observer man,
And if you should run across one
Just help him all you can.

In: The Thunderer, Volume I, Number XI, April 1945. P. 3.



If I were the weather man
Instead of just his aid
I can tell you right away
There’d be some changes made.

In a transparent plastic turret
Atop a building tall
This most alert observer
Wouldn’t have to move at all;

But at a magic switchboard
I’d have complete control,
I’d exactly measure everything
And the needed weather dole.

I’d move some of this winter’s cold
From the north to cool the south
I’d redistribute rainfall
And relieve the summer’s drouth.

I’d invent a little gadget
With a balance that would tip
To turn off snow and rain and sleet
When we’d had enough “precip.”

When the fog was heavy
I’d disperse it, don’t ask how,
Low ceilings raise with a magic word
Like “Bongo, bongo, chow.”

Each week-end I’d have picnic weather
Just right for going swimming,
I’d do away with thunderstorms
And have lightning just for trimming.

Of rainy days and sunny days
More of the latter than former,
Our Christmases would all be white
And our New Years fair and warmer.

In: The Thunderer, Volume II, Number VII, December 1945. P. 1.


By Bruce D. Brown, former Navy Aerographer.

He’s up bright and early each morning of the year
To tell the poor layman if its cloudy or clear.
He takes out his maps, his instruments and all
In order to tell what weather will fall.
He’s called all the day by inquisitive folks,
“Shall I drain my car?”, or “Put my clothes to soak.”
He worries all day and frets all night,
“I wonder if I did that report all right?”

He’s human like us mortals be,
And yet we must have faith in his prophecy.
He’ll tell us when the day is fair
And if it rains, don’t up and flare.
He works at a trade that’s really rough,
‘Cause predicting weather is really tough.
Learn to think of his work as art,
Or all your gripes will break his heart.

Day after day he works and he slaves,
One wrong report, and everyone raves.
As long as he’s right none say a thing,
But one false report, he feels the sting.
No wonder the men who make the reports
Are almost immune to peoples’ retorts.
Let’s all bow our heads in a silent prayer
For that poor guy who delves in the air.

In: The Thunderer, Volume II, Number VIII, January 1946. P. 3.



And now among the fading embers
These in the main are my regrets
When I am right no one remembers
When I am wrong no one forgets.

In: The Thunderer, Volume II, Number 10, March 1946. P. 9.



I had a dream the other night
It really was most frightening.
My isobars were all mised up
My cirrus glowed with lightning.

My temperature was absolute
My sky condition clear,
I climbed a pseudo-adiabat
Into the stratosphere.

My hydroscopice nucleus
Was part of an occlusion,
My anticyclone blew away
My latent heat of fusion.

My presssure gradient centrifuged
And broke my min thermometer.
My water tank was upside down
Upon my anemometer.

Then I awoke - a sudden gust
With light precipitation
Obscured the dream that gave my brain
Synoptic saturation.

In: The Thunderer, Volume IV, No. 3. P. 4. August 1947.


By Halcyon Jones

I dipt into the future far as
Human eye could see,
I saw the Chief Forecaster, dead
As any one could be.

Dead and damned and shut in Hades as a
Liar from his birth,
With a record of unreason
Seldom paralleled on earth.

While I looked he reared him solemnly,
That incandescent youth,
From the coals that he preferred to
The advantages of truth.

He cast his eyes about him and above;
Then he wrote
On a slab of thin asbestos what I
Venture here to quote.

For I read it in the rose-light of
The everlasting glow;
“Cloudy, variable winds, with local
Showers; cooler, snow.”

In: The Thunderer, Volume IV, No. 10, P. 1. March 1948. Note: this poem had no name and the pseudonym Halcyon Jones as the poet. The NOAA History Site editor provided what is thought to be an appropriate title.


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

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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