You send us your used weather, the gray serge
Of clouds, hand-me-down rain that has picked up
Its acid comment in transit through Ohio,
Second-hand blizzards, waves of isobars
That thunder eastward in an aerial surf.
Stuff the Salvation Army wouldn’t touch!
Soiled, threadbare, obsolete, your record lows
(Announced by all the trumpets of the sky
And on jammed airwaves in a voice of doom
By gloomy weathercasters) blunder in
And let us have it, and of which we plain
In plaintive plainsong and the plainest terms
That the Great Plains and Hoagy Carmichael
Provide: “You’ve Come A Long Way From St. Louis.”


We send you our used daylight, mildewed dawns,
Rusted sunset finales that have seen
Better days, wasted afternoons as stale,
Flat and unprofitable as The New York Sun,
Drypoint editions of New England dusk.
Ghostly crepuscules straight from the photo morgue.
Shrunk by inflation, our diminished savings
Of late November light, like little hairless
Chihuahuas, seem doll-house versions of the Dog Days.
And finally, the soft night having arrived,
Scented with sweetgrass, garrulous with crickets,
The sky Columbian Blue, you lift your eyes,
And what do we hand you but “The Great White Way,”
Our name in lights, somewhat the worse for where.
—Anthony Hecht