Works in the Herald 1935

Sir James Jeans, the eminent astronomer, says that sunspots, which are at their maximum at 11-year peak periods, cause phenomenal and unseasonable wet weather. These spots are really bubbles of gas which rise from the sun's boiling centre and, bursting at the surface, shoot off jets at over a million miles an hour.

By the Mediterranean shore,
   In the days of the cohorts and legions,
When oodles of rain used to pour
   O'er the old agricultural regions,
When a deluge came thundering down --
   Tho' the vineyards of Rome did not need it --
Men cocked a shrewd eye
At the lowering sky
   And agreed that the gods had decreed it.
And they said to themselves: "There is not the least doubt
That's Jupiter Pluvius pouring it out."

But the restless old world forged ahead,
   And men waxed in wisdom and reason;
An in bluff, Merrie England, 'tis said,
   When a deluge came down out of season,
And rotted their "turmuts," their "spuds",
   Mangelwursts and similar riches,
The wise of the land
Saw black magic at hand,
   So they sizzled a couple of witches.
And they said to themselves, "There be not the least doubt,
They hags can cast spells for a deluge or drought."

But progress moved onward, and soon
   Men derided the cult of witch-burning;
And, in times of great floods, 'twas the moon
   Caused it all, said the men of deep learning.
And they proved, since she governs the tides,
   She must govern all water and weather.
So men turned to this new view,
Since 'twas novel and new,
   And they scrapped old beliefs altogether,
For they said to themselves, "There is not the least doubt,
Lest the moon's on her back she must spill water out."

But we moderns, of course, high of brow,
   Are amused by these crude superstitions.
We are guided by scientist now --
   Astronomers, mathematicians.
'Tis sunspots, as now we know well,
   Cause phenomenal floods and such troubles;
But there isn't much harm;
So still your alarm,
   For it's only old Sol blowing bubbles.
But I say to myself, "Can there be any doubt
That a brief hundred years sees this theory out?"

Herald, 23 December 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005-07