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Weather Man Poems

The following two poems are two more contributions to the lyrical description of weather phenomena as observed and recorded by George W. Mindling, a Weather Bureau official whose career spanned much of the first half of the Twentieth Century. Like his Weather Man Poems, these two poems were not published. These two poems were incorporated into the text of a hand-typed manuscript entitled “Climatic Features of Ohio” by George W. Mindling, Official in Charge of the Weather Bureau Office at Columbus, Ohio. From the records included in this analysis, it appears that Mindling wrote this work and the accompanying poems in 1945.

An Untitled Poem on Winter
by George W. Mindling

There’s a certain old question the Weather Man hears;
In the fall of the year it gets into his ears.
And whenever they ask him, when does winter begin?”
He will tell them naively, “When cold weather sets in.”

There are some who insist on a calendar date,
And they want it the same for every State,
From the northernmost plain in a terrible blizzard
To the southernmost shore warm enough for a lizard.

Now the Weather Man thinks that it does not make sense
In Duluth and Miami on the same day to commence
To declare that it’s winter and that winter will stay
Till the day off in March called the equinox day.

While the almanac makers do state in their ways
That the length of the winter is just ninety days,
Up in Maine I have heard in the best Yankee style
That it’s winter nine months and it’s cold all the while.

In Miami, however, or down at Saint Pete,
They assume that your house never needs any heat.
If you speak about winter, they warmly reply,
“Such a thing is unknown under our friendly sky.”

So the Weather Man says you can not fix a date
That is true in each year and is true in each State.
And to each one that asks, “When does winter begin?”
He will answer naively, “When cold weather sets in.”

An Untitled Poem on Thunder and Lightning
by George W. Mindling

If they try to persuade you that shooting makes rain,
You can tell them in substance they “give you a pain”.
If they argue that thunder precedes the downpour,
You can show them how badly they mix up their lore.
When the high swollen cloud drops a heavy rain dash,
It’s the splitting of raindrops makes the lightning flash,
Which in turn then produces the thunder’s loud crash.

So the rain is the starter – by good reason it is first –
Not the lightning’s bright flash or the thunder’s outburst.
But say the rain and the lightning and the thundering sound
Make a start all together in a race for the ground.
Now, the flash is perceived before thunder is heard,
Though the sound of the thunder outspeeds any bird.
Still the speed of the sound is some forty times faster
Than the speed of the raindrops a falling like plaster.
So, why shouldn’t you hear the loud roaring sound
A little bit sooner than the rain hits the ground?


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

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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