Vol. 32 No. 1 · 7 January 2010

The Exquisite Atmography of Thomas Appletree, Diarist of Edgiock

August Kleinzahler

429 words

And thus did the Atmospherical Theatre play out,
with its transmutations & shifting of vapours,
whether the rain-bearing clouds of January
riding over our heades like vast Carracks
or Bulging, dull-swelling Bas-Releive clouds
bloated & pendulous, ubera caeli fecunda:
sky cubbies or udders clouds;
Enclosed & stufft ye whole visible Hemisphere
in colour like Lead-vapours
or a tall Frescoo ceiling, or marbled veined grotto.

All symphonicall to my Genius,
regaling my cloud-born, my Nubigenous Genius,
Black clouds, gross & mineral fumes
vomited out of a Cupella;
Aeriall nitre, black lists,
Clouds heaped in cliffs, dreadfull & vast;
and winds, violent & furious
so as to Rock the Turret until I could not write,
and with the candle dancing & waving
hardly see, whilst the obstinate cold
did pinch my fingers;

until the Heavens, having discharg’d the ore-glutted Rain,
Rain of the Gulf, bosom & vagina of the Sea,
the Recesses, cu—nt or Rima magna,
having emptied their Lax fluid,
take on the Form of airey-marble.

And later next day my inkpot thawed.

Those Medicelestiall seas of Atmosphere,
a Mappae Mundi depeinted in clouds.

Language is exceeding scanty & barren
for apt similes & termes.
I tire myself with Pumping.
More fruitfull than all the King’s tongues,
She is infinite & large,
they only a combination of sounds
from changes of Letters 24;
wich is easily computed, but Her inventory shop
& Particulars of her grand warehouse
are above ye Rules of Arithmetic.

So when those atoms of air invade my pores,
settling the fibres of my brain, ideas even,
an agreeable misty rain in spring
becomes a soothing anodyne to my vexations,
falling in patt with my humour,
a distillation, divine juice, Lachrymall Serentity;


Every vegetable strutted in vivid new-fed green,
Swelled & distended with ye vernal success,
Semole breasts of youthful lust;

Sanative steams, cordiall odours,
a fragrancy on my clothes ;
[the year’s first butterfly (4 May)]

a nutrimental teeming influence,
as frogs=spawn or jelly or sperma ceti;
dropping in unseen effluvia,
efflorescence & unctuous irrigation,
ye Reall muck of the air,
Rich magazine of Aerial dispensary,
aura vitalis on earth’s longing womb.

How ye may draw all ye Bedlam whims,
this region of chimeras,
cities, armies, whatever ye teeming imagination suggest
in this the Book, the Grand history
& Picture of mine own life,
which is same as the Sky over Edgiock.

Composed from entries in the 1703 weather diaries of Thomas Appletree, the presumed

Edgiock Diarist, transcribed by Jan Golinski from the Lancing College Archive, West Sussex

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