It’s this crazy weather we’ve been having; or, Rhapsody on a theme by John Ashbery

crazy weather

So (I says casually), did you see the photo on the front page of the New York Times on Friday? Snow in Jerusalem. Crazy, right?

And how about that heatwave in Australia? Pretty awful.

Not to mention the soaking rains they’ve been having in the UK.

And did I mention that it’s gonna be close to sixty degrees here in Providence over the next few days? In mid-January. Seriously, it feels like late March / early April outside.

You know where I’m going with this.

We’ve done it to ourselves. We didn’t mean to do it, but we did it. We have steadily warmed our climate, and now abnormal weather is the new normal: storms, droughts, temperature extremes. 2012 was the warmest year on record in the United States, by the way.

So what can we do about it?

Little enough. The damage is already done. The carbon dioxide is already out there, and the ozone is already torn up.

Good night and good luck, human race.

(But let’s end with something nice. I started with a John Ashbery quote, so let’s have the whole poem, and think – or hope – that humanity might not die out completely, or might at least leave behind something beautiful.)

(Something like this:)

It’s this crazy weather we’ve been having:
Falling forward one minute, lying down the next
Among the loose grasses and soft, white, nameless flowers.
People have been making a garment out of it,
Stitching the white of lilacs together with lightning
At some anonymous crossroads. The sky calls
To the deaf earth. The proverbial disarray
Of morning corrects itself as you stand up.
You are wearing a text. The lines
Droop to your shoelaces and I shall never want or need
Any other literature than this poetry of mud
And ambitious reminiscences of times when it came easily
Through the then woods and ploughed fields and had
A simple unconscious dignity we can never hope to
Approximate now except in narrow ravines nobody
Will inspect where some late sample of the rare,
Uninteresting specimen might still be putting out shoots, for all we know. 



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

2 Responses to It’s this crazy weather we’ve been having; or, Rhapsody on a theme by John Ashbery

  1. starproms says:

    I love how you say ‘the warmest year’. What you call ‘warm’ is ‘hot’ to me, lol. I find the heat in Tennessee unbearable. Perhaps up north in the U.S. would suit me better. Over here, as you said, it’s been the wettest year on record (I think I’m right in saying). One of the effects of that summer has been soggy potatoes. When I cook mashed potatoes I have to cook them for almost 5 minutes less, otherwise they turn to a mush – they are so full of water already. They are very nice roasted and baked however. We have to adapt.

    • The heat here in New England was bearable last summer, but this winter has been strangely warm; it was very warm today – springlike, really. I know you’ve been having a lot of rain; even the American news (which is terrible at covering anything outside of the US) has mentioned it. And we must brace ourselves for even stranger weather, apparently . . .

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