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Lay for the Day
22nd March

1457: in Mainz, Germany, Johan Gutenberg produces his first Bible and the Print Age begins.
Though this date is much reproduced on the internet, I haven’t found any other substantiation for it. In other words, it’s a not untypical creature of the Digital Age.


This perplexing sheaf, the Bible,
On which are built the longing naves,
Empire’s dome and seamark steeple
Out of the wood’s unbreaking waves,
Engraves fat tombs, and stones that speak
Lowly of ones who sleep; a book
Whose leaves are turned to flint, and saint-
Strewn glass, to marble, ragged oak
And gold, to plaster, cloth and paint,
Which vows all craft shall be shaken
To dust when these dead awaken.
It is a reed sharp and unpliant
As iron; stark peak fertile as our graves;
A word sprung green among the thorns of print.

John Gibbens
from Church of Thorns

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar