Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Is there an "atmospheric clock" or "Atmos clock" in Elizabeth Bishop's "The Colder the Air"?

One of the puzzles in Elizabeth Bishop's poem "The Colder the Air" is the title, whose slim connection to the body of the poem is two mentions of "air", especially the "winter air" in the poem's second line. There's also a mysterious "clock" referred to in the poem's next-to-last line, which follows a reference to "atmosphere." Following a hunch, I found out that an "Atmos clock" runs without winding on the basis of small variations in air temperature and pressure, so that "the colder the air" gets, the more it winds itself. I'm not convinced that Bishop was referring to such a clock, but at least that would explain the title. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 25 October 2022)

No comments: