Great Lakes Weather Gaffe

Beyond the equinox by thirty days,
With trees and shrubs bedecked in glorious bloom,
Onto the scene the weirdest weather strays
And plunges all back into winter’s gloom.
Snow smothers lawns and settles on the roofs.
Fierce wind sculpts strange, belief–defying drifts.
It’s one of nature’s grand, egregious goofs—
A wonder, yet the most bizarre of gifts.

Two days ago we strolled in splendorous spring,
Thinking we were proceeding very fast
Out of the cold towards summer’s lazy swing
And well chilled beer to thwart the sun’s bold blast.
For now, though, we’ll just have to settle back
And see how much more winter we must hack.



Full Moon at Dawn

Against a canvas of emergent blue
The white wheel hovers sulking, shaming me
With its radiance: how had I failed to see
It instantly, as if I lacked a clue
To search the new–purged void? And even now,
If it were possible, that brilliant sheen,
Which fades with the increasing glare that leans
In from afar, would morph into a glow
Of angry or humiliated rouge:
“I’m here for the description you can wring—
The noise, though merely graphic, that you bring
About to please yourself. You’re just a stooge
To ego, eyes peeled on your scribbled blight
Rather than on the melting off of night.”



Julian D. Woodruff, who contributes poetry frequently to the Society of Classical Poets, writes poetry and short fiction for children and adults. He recently finished 2020-2021, a poetry collection. A selection of his work can be read at Parody Poetry, Lighten Up Online, Carmina Magazine, and Reedsy.

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8 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    Julian, “Great Lakes” reminded me of the famous Gordon Lightfoot song “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. My understanding is that all of the Great Lakes are notoriously unpredictable when it comes to weather, especially as the seasons change.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Thanks for the comment, Ms Corey. Right you are about Great Lakes weather. Maybe I should write a poem (or have I al ready?) about an alleged incident during the Chicago blizzard of 1967.

  2. Margaret Coats

    “Great Lakes Weather Gaffe” well expresses this “mistake” of nature that seems to occur so often. “Don’t like the weather? Wait a minute, and it will change.” Your colloquial poem corresponds to the wisdom of the proverb, but offers classic beauty in words at the same time, as with “Fierce wind sculpts strange, belief-defying drifts.” And I think “Full Moon at Dawn” is the first moon poem I’ve seen where the moon talks back to put the speaker in his place. Nice touch to have that sonnet in closed quatrains, and the storm in open ones.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Thank you, Margaret. This is my 2nd poem in which the moon speaks. The 1st was a narrative meant to appeal to kids. You’re right to notice the colloquialisms: “goofs” might have a head or 2 shaking, but “hack” expresses my & many others’ attitude pretty well. I hadn’t thought about the complementarity of the 4train arrangements–another dimension of poetry sequences for me to try to bear in mind.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Both poems are carefully and expertly done, and I especially like “Great Lakes Weather Gaffe.”

    I have a question about the word “splendorous” in line 9. Of course metrically it can fit if elided as “splendrous” in pronunciation. But why not use the simple adjective “splendid”? The overly-Latinate “splendorous” is to my ear somewhat farfetched and pretentious, and I am reminded of Polonius and his comment about Hamlet’s letter to Ophelia: “Beautified? ‘Beautified’ is an ill phrase.”

  4. Julian D. Woodruff

    Thanks for your encouragement, Joseph. About “splendorous,” I looked at this word a few minutes before seeing your note, and wondered, “Where did that ‘o’ come from?” As for “splendid,” you have a point. I think I was only trying to convey my feeling of having been robbed by the weather. Maybe I feared that “splendid” would be appropriate for a shoulder shrug response, where I thought a sense of outrage was in order.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Julian, I have thoroughly enjoyed these two beautifully crafted poems. I especially like “Great Lakes Weather Gaffes”. One simply has to read it after reading the magnificently enticing title, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint, with terms such as: “belief–defying drifts” – how this sums up the constant emergence of ice age amid the catastrophic heating up of the planet. I’m always drawn to the subject of the moon and “Full Moon at Dawn” is a pleasure to read. Thank you!

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Thank you, Susan. Just at the moment I’m trying to fix up a handful of poems on similar topics–the sun, shadows, clouds etc. (Why not? That’s where my head is most of the time.) Maybe 2-3 will land here.


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