I’m sure that nobody reading this has ever heard of Maurice Thompson, and that’s OK because until earlier today, I had never heard of him, either. But he wrote something, more than a century ago, that seems as current as if it written yesterday.
I came upon his work entirely by accident. The particulars of it are beyond the time and inclination that I have to describe it at this moment. But the discovery was a couple of lines that were published in a poem called “America,” way back in 1892. The lines read as follows:
And join our song, oh, every alien tongue
Make thunder-music on our highest wall
Since he died in 1901, Maurice Thompson never saw a football game on TV, and the concept of a Super Bowl ad would have probably been amusing and/or frightening to him. But Super Bowl ads are certainly our highest wall today, because of all the attention they receive. And the Coca-Cola ad “America Is Beautiful” has been in the news lately, as it is a multi-lingual celebration of America itself.
The internet has changed many things over the past decade, but it has allowed for Thompson’s work–or at least a few words of it–to come to my attention today, and it gives me a platform to share them with whoever might care to read it here. It’s not as beautiful as America itself, but it’s not a bad thing, either.