Fenway Park closes in on 100 years old on April 12th.
April 12th, 1912 turns out to be two days before the Titanic hit the iceberg. In Boston, we'll celebrate the first but not the second.
Meanwhile, as wags note, April is cool. Perhaps the coolest month?
April also happens to be National Poetry Month.
As a token of our appreciation -- not so much of the work of poets, which can range from sublime to ridiculous -- but as a token of our appreciation of the common humanity expressed through poetry, this oldest of art forms -- let us think of our poets and our poetry, today and all days.
But whom should we cite? Eliot, surely. He gave us a modern tongue and the line that we parody and repeat (see above). Someone once told me I should read Elizabeth Bishop. I haven't. Yet.
Rather, today, I look back to the time of ancient scripture and see something very much of now.
In this year's March 5th New Yorker, Adam Gopnik reviews Elaine Pagels' book, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (Viking), on the Book of Revelation, the pyrotechnical completion to the Bible. In it, she looks at the question of why this particular story was The Final Story among the many that existed in the earliest days of Christianity, when many many questions remained unsettled.
Not small themes, I grant you. I do recommend reading Gopnik's review and perhaps Pagels' book as well (I haven't yet read it). Here are some more tidbits from Gopnik:
[Pagels] accepts that Revelation was probably written, toward the end of the
first century C.E., by a refugee mystic named John on the little island
of Patmos, just off the coast of modern Turkey ....
What’s more original to Pagels’s book is the view that Revelation is
essentially an anti-Christian polemic. That is, it was written by an
expatriate follower of Jesus who wanted the movement to remain within an
entirely Jewish context, as opposed to the 'Christianity' just then
being invented by St. Paul, who welcomed uncircumcised and trayf-eating
Gentiles into the sect. At a time when no one quite called himself 'Christian,' in the modern sense, John is prophesying what would happen
if people did.
But where's the poetry, you ask?
Here is the poetry, and what beautiful poetry it is.