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A Vision Of Climate

Ambrose Bierce 1842 (Meigs County) – 1914 (Chihuahua)

I dreamed that I was poor and sick and sad,
Broken in hope and weary of my life;
My ventures all miscarrying-naught had
For all my labor in the heat and strife.
And in my heart some certain thoughts were rife
Of an unsummoned exit. As I lay
Considering my bitter state, I cried:
'Alas! that hither I did ever stray.
Better in some fair country to have died
Than live in such a land, where Fortune never
(Unless he be successful) crowns Endeavor.'

Then, even as I lamented, lo! there came
A troop of Presences-I knew not whence
Nor what they were: thought cannot rightly name
What's known through spiritual evidence,
Reported not by gross material sense.
'Why come ye here?' I seemed to cry (though naught
My sleeping tongue did utter) to the first
'What are ye?-with what woful message fraught?
Ye have a ghastly look, as ye had burst
Some sepulcher in memory. Weird creatures,
I'm sure I'd know you if ye had but features.'

Some subtle organ noted the reply
(Inaudible to ear of flesh the tone):
'The Finest Climate in the World am I,
From Siskiyou to San Diego known
From the Sierra to the sea. The zone
Called semi-tropical I've pulled about
And placed it where it does most good, I trust.
I shake my never-failing bounty out
Alike upon the just and the unjust.'
'That's very true,' said I, 'but when 'tis shaken
My share by the unjust is ever taken.'

'Permit me,' it resumed, 'now to present
My eldest son, the Champagne Atmosphere,
And others to rebuke your discontent
The Mammoth Squash, Strawberry All the Year,
The fair No Lightning-flashing only here
The Wholesome Earthquake and Italian Sky,
With its Unstriking Sun; and last, not least,
The Compos Mentis Dog. Now, ingrate, try
To bring a better stomach to the feast:
When Nature makes a dance and pays the piper,
To be unhappy is to be a viper!'

'Why, yet,' said I, 'with all your blessings fine
(And Heaven forbid that I should speak them ill)
I yet am poor and sick and sad. Ye shine
With more of splendor than of heat: for still,
Although my will is warm, my bones are chill.'
'Then warm you with enthusiasm's blaze
Fortune waits not on toil,' they cried; 'O then
Join the wild chorus clamoring our praise
Throw up your beaver and throw down you pen!'
'Begone!' I shouted. They bewent, a-smirking,
And I, awakening, fell straight a-working.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:07 min read

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

All Ambrose Bierce poems | Ambrose Bierce Books

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