Summer 1998 • Vol. XX No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1998 |

Thinking of Galileo

When, during a weekend in Venice while standing   with the dark sky above the Grand Canal exploding in arcs of color and light a man behind me begins to explain   the chemical composition of the fireworks and how potassium-something-ate and sulfur catalyze to make the gold waterfall of stars cascading   in the moon-drunk sky, I begin to understand why the Inquisition tortured Galileo and see how it might be a good thing for people   to think that the sun revolves around the earth. You don't have to know how anything works to be bowled over by beauty,   but with an attitude like mine we'd still be swimming in a sea of smallpox and consumption, not to mention plague, for these fireworks   are in celebration of the Festival of the Redentore, or Christ the Redeemer, whose church on the other side of the canal was built after the great plague   of 1575 to thank him for saving Venice, though by that time 46,000 were dead,and I suppose God had made his point if

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Out of Pocket

By Jan Richman

When, during a weekend in Venice while standing   with the dark sky above the Grand Canal exploding in arcs of color and light a man behind me begins to explain […]

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