Poems of the Climate, I (after Eliot’s Waste Land, of course) – Jedediah Purdy

December is the weird-ass month, raising
Daffodils from dozing land, mixing
Hallmark cards and bafflement, mudding
Up our seasons with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, no joke there,
Earth in forgetful grey, not even
Troubling to freeze the ticks.

I read, the long evenings, drive north and it stays warm.

What is the tropic here, what equinox
orders this unfrozen scene? Son of Man,
You’re quick to say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, affixed to tweets,
And the almond gives no shelter, the Gulf Stream no relief,
And the Arctic the sound of water, running.

I will show you fear in a season of rain.


Jedediah Purdy is a professor of law at Duke University. He is also a prominent cultural, social, religious, and political thinker who is the author of books such as Being America: Liberty, Commerce and Violence in an American World. His modern classic For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today has drawn comparisons to Henry David Thoreau. He is a fellow at the New America Foundation.

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