Muriel Rukeyser
Words from the past, insights for today

Saturday morning, hyperbolic weather reporters here barked out warnings of heavy wind and drenching rain all day. A shower or two did dampen Manhattan streets, but the real New York weather over the weekend was elsewhere.Friday night at the Chelsea Art Museum, John Cage's “Lecture on the Weather,” commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in 1975 to celebrate the U.S. bicentennial, had its belated New York City premiere. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Opera was in the midst of presenting the New York premiere of John Adams' recent “Doctor Atomic,” which I saw Saturday night. These are strikingly timely works in which past American thought provides acute insight into our country's...