dry lightning

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jul 8 15:17:25 UTC 2007

OED mentions _heat lightning_ (the kind unaccompanied by rain in your vicinity) but offers no supporting cites.

  My grandparents used _heat lightning_.

  My reading of Springsteen's "dry lightning" is that it refers - poetically or not - to heat lightning. Reichmuth's definition is different.


Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: dry lightning

At 7:40 AM -0700 7/8/07, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>All electricity is equally dry, but according to Rick Reichmuth,
>_Fox & Friends_ weekend meteorologist, "dry lightning" is the kind
>that starts a wildfire by striking dry leaves. I don't have the
>precise quote, but it sounds as though it's a recognized term.
> Kind of a poetry thing.
> JL
I know it only from the eponymous Bruce Springsteen song: etc.

I threw my robe on in the morning
Watched the ring on the stove turn red
Stared hypnotized into a cup of coffee
Pulled on my boots and made the bed
Screen door hangin' off its hinges
Kept bangin' me awake all night
As I look out the window
The only thing in site
Is dry lightning on the horizon line
Just dry lightning and and you on my mind

etc. Full lyrics at
http://www.lyricsdepot.com/bruce-springsteen/dry-lightning.html and
other sites; I especially like the poetic allusion in this verse:

Well the piss yellow sun
Comes bringin' up the day
She said 'Ain't nobody can give nobody
What they really need anyway.'


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