Sunday, October 7, 2007

Poetic Injustice: Fog vs. Marine Layer

Who invented the term ‘Marine Layer’? I’d like to speak with that person about this term that, in many places, has replaced what used to be known simply as ‘fog’. Fog has poetry. Marine Layer does not.

Cloud, Rain, Sleet, Snow, Ice, Wind, Sun, Sky, Marine Layer.
What is wrong with this picture?

A further example:

Finally, the consummate San Francisco auditory delight: the foghorns blowing in a sublime orchestra of tones, ushering in the misty shroud as it seeps through the Golden Gate, slowly settling over Alcatraz and Angel Islands. Ships that can’t be seen join the foghorn symphony warning the pathway ahead with a long reverberating utterance. With a deep inhalation accompanied by the muted choir of the horns, the fog is drawn up over the eastern hills of the bay and into the lungs of the land. The music transports me into the clouds by day, lulls me into sleep by night, and haunts my dreams, from wherever I am on Earth.

Vs.

Finally, the consummate San Francisco auditory delight: the Marine Layer horns blowing in a sublime orchestra of tones, ushering in the Marine Layer as it seeps through the Golden Gate, slowly settling over Alcatraz and Angel Islands. Ships that can’t be seen join the Marine Layer horn symphony warning the pathway ahead with a long reverberating utterance. With a deep inhalation accompanied by the muted choir of the horns, the Marine Layer is drawn up over the eastern hills of the bay and into the inland valleys. The music transports me into the cumulous hydrogen/oxygen clusters by day, lulls me into inert resting state by night, and haunts my rapid eye movement, from wherever I am on the third planet from the sun.

Stupid Marine Layer.

The foghorn paragraph is an excerpt from my article "San Francisco City Sounds".
View article published on American Chronicle online magazine.
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