Feb. 26, 2002
A Man in Maine
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Poem: "A Man in Maine," by Philip Booth from Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999 (Viking).
A Man in Maine
North. The bare time.
The same quick dark
from Rutland to Nome,
the utter chill.
Winter stars. After
work, splitting birch
by the light outside
his back door, a man
in Maine thinks what
his father told him,
this same back door:
every November, his
father said, he thought
when he split wood
of what his father
said the night he
right here died: just
after supper, his
father said, his father
came out back, looked
out at the sky
the way he had
for years, picked up
his ax, struck
the oak clean, and
was himself struck
down; before he
died he just had
this to say:
this time of
year the stars
come close some fierce.
On this day in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee unveiled a prototype of the Web browser at the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, a tool for physicists around the world to share their research. The first commercially-available Web browser, Mosaic, was released in 1993.
It's the birthday of country western singer and songwriter Johnny
Cash, born in Kingsland, Arkansas (1932). After getting out of the Air
Force in 1954, he settled in Memphis and worked as an appliance salesman while
fronting the band "Tennessee Two." He recorded his first singles for
Sun Records in 1955: "Hey Porter," and "Cry, Cry, Cry,"
which was his first big hit.
It's the birthday of children's author and mystery novelist Mary
Shura Craig, born in Pratt, Kansas (1923). She's the author of nearly seventy
books, including the children's books Simple Spigott (1960), and The
Nearsighted Knight (1964) and mystery novels such as The Third Blonde
(1985) and Flash Point (1987).
On this day in 1919, Grand
Canyon National Park in Arizona was established by an act of Congress.
When President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Grand Canyon in 1903, he called
it "the one great sight which every American should see." In 1975,
Congress nearly doubled the size of the park, which now covers 1,904 square
On this day in 1848, the Communist
Manifesto was published in London, in German. It was written by Karl
Marx and Friedrich Engels.
It's the birthday of Levi
Strauss, born in Bavaria, Germany (1829). He came to America when he
was eighteen to work as a peddler, then made his way to San Francisco during
the California Gold Rush of 1849. He started making clothing for the miners,
including a pair of pants that came to be named for him-"Levis."
It's the birthday of Victor
Hugo, born in Besançon, France (1802), best known for his novels
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) and Les Miserables (1862).
He also wrote a number of successful plays, including Hernani (1830)
and Le Roi s'amuse (1832), on which Verdi based his opera Rigoletto.
He was active in French politics as a member of the Legislative Assembly, but
was driven into exile when Napoleon the Third came to power. He returned to
Paris nearly twenty years later, and was made a senator of the Third Republic
when he was seventy-four years old. When he died in May 1885, he lay in state
under the Arc de Triomphe, and a million Parisians were part of his funeral
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