“It’s music you’ve never heard.”

It is this date in 1967, and a prizewinning poetess is listening to the radio.

Not the classical music she usually listens to, but pop songs. Ones that make her think of a particular person in whom she seems to be developing a romantic interest.

She doesn’t entirely warm to the songs — they “(bleat) like a goat,” in her words.

But their effect is strong enough to make her evoke images of teenage couples in parked cars (“everyone is in / a delight at this ardor”), and to end her poem with a sing-songy, childlike rhyme (the only rhyme of her own doing in the piece):

I am in a delight with you, Music Man / Your name is Dr. Y. My name is Anne.

To a pop geek, reading the untitled poem is a little like hearing Badfinger or Big Star: The work itself is a pleasure, but the tangled backstory makes it hard to enjoy.

The poetess, of course, is Anne Sexton. The poem — dated November 18, 1967 in The Complete Poems — would not see print until 1978, four years after Sexton’s death by her own hand.

And later allegations that Sexton had an affair with her psychotherapist in the 1960s (a subtext that leaks out of this poem at every corner) can make a reader cringe.

Perhaps this is an oversimplification too easily drawn — I’m good at those — but it seems from this distance like the deeply troubled Sexton needed the highest standard of professional treatment, and didn’t get it.

(Assuming this link works as well for you as for me, you can read the poem and come to your own conclusions about Sexton’s mood. The following poem in the Dr. Y series, dated December 4, 1967, makes mention of sperm and adultery and begins, “I am no longer at war with sin.”)

Being both a pop geek and an incurable fantasist, I of course tried to put myself at Sexton’s writing desk and recreate the diet of music that helped these besotted words reach paper.

It is charming to imagine a person bent over her blank paper, deep in thought, with pop radio in the background, both feeding her imagination and playing away ignored … but we’re looking at a well-known poet summoning the muse, not a teenage girl doing her homework.

I could turn the long-lost radio back on again, thanks to the ARSA database of local radio play charts, which includes airplay lists from mid-November 1967 for two major Boston Top 40 stations, WRKO 680 and WBZ 1030. Sexton lived and worked in Weston, Mass., Boston’s most affluent suburb, so it seems like a fair bet to think she was tuned in to the sounds of the city.

WBZ’s chart for the week ending Nov. 11 and WRKO’s chart for the week ending Nov. 23 are fairly similar.

Both feature Ray Charles’ version of “Yesterday” in mid-chart and heading up. Sexton paraphrased the song in her poem, and presumably, Brother Ray must have made an impression on her. He tended to have that effect.

The poem also quotes the Peggy Lee chestnut “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” which suggests Sexton’s radio was not exclusively tuned to pop stations. The ARSA database shows no record of anyone having a rock-era hit with the song, which was most recently and notably covered by Diana Krall.

The WBZ and WRKO charts, as charts tend to be, are thick with love songs; and one wonders whether Sexton thought of Dr. Y when she heard “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Daydream Believer,” “Please Love Me Forever,” “It Must Be Him,” “It’s You That I Need,” or a dozen other soundtracks to ardor, teenage or otherwise.

The charts also cough up a Sixties oddity: Victor Lundberg’s patriotic spoken-word hit, “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son,” leaped a remarkable 25 spots over the course of a week to claim No. 5 on the WBZ chart.

One would like to think the arrival of “An Open Letter” signaled the point in her writing sessions where Sexton stubbed out her cigarette, turned off the music, and went to cook dinner or pick up the kids.

Glory days.

A relic of distant days.
A relic of distant days.

I continue not to give a damn about Halls of Fame, in any genre. They are wonderful places to display relics, but flawed to the point of uselessness when it comes to actually determining who was the greatest in their field.

I must still confess, though, that I felt a wave of joy earlier this week when Pedro Martinez was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame — on the first ballot, no less.

I lived in Boston and followed the Red Sox closely from the mid-’90s through 2002, a period that included Pedro’s early years with the team. The skinny pitcher from the Dominican was spirited, exuberant, a little bit goofy, and crazy, crazy good; and it didn’t take long for Red Sox Nation to fall madly in love with him.

It’s no exaggeration to say that vintage Pedro ranks among the five best ballplayers I’ve ever seen in person. In fact, I’m hard put to think of truly serious rivals (Junior Griffey, equally delightful in his younger years, might come closest.)

I have especially strong memories of two nights at Fenway when my arse was in the stands and Pedro was on the mound. Tonight, with a cold wind outside and a dusting of snow on the ground, seems like a fine time to get lost in the stories …

May 3, 1998, Red Sox 2, Rangers 1:  A male co-worker of mine bought really, really good seats behind home plate at Fenway and asked a woman we both worked with on a date. She turned him down. In frustration, he offered the tickets to my wife and I. They remain the finest seats I have ever had at a big-league game, or probably ever will have.

My lovelorn friend missed an excellent game. Pedro struck out nine Rangers in seven innings and yielded only one first-inning run, thanks in part to an error by catcher Jason Varitek.

I can remember thinking it was a pleasure to see Pedro up close, and paying special attention as he wound up and dealt, knowing this was something to savor. He was not at the absolute top of his game, not all-world dominant … but still very, very good.

(A side note: Darren Oliver threw a complete game for the Rangers that day but wound up a hard-luck loser. He later became one of those lefty relievers who faces two guys a game and lasts forever. Fifteen years after that loss to Pedro at Fenway, I took my two kids to Toronto, and we saw Oliver pitch at Rogers Centre as a reliever for the Blue Jays. He’ll never be in the Hall of Fame, but he wound up having a career worthy of pride in his own right.)

The seats were $30 apiece in 1998; God knows what they cost now.
The seats were $30 apiece in 1998; God knows what they cost now.

June 15, 1999, Red Sox 4, Twins 2:  Back in the Nineties, Red Sox tickets were easier to come by than they were after the team finally won the Series. A Boston-area tuxedo rental chain named Mr. Tux decided to take advantage of that.

The tux company bought a big block of bleacher seats for a Tuesday night game against Minnesota —  a yawnsville game, pretty much. Then it announced a promotion: Any wedding party that had rented at least five tuxes in the previous year (maybe it was six) could pick up free tickets at their local Mr. Tux outlet.

It just so happened that some college friends of ours had gotten married the previous year, and their sizable stable of groomsmen — including me — had kitted out at Mr. Tux. So we got hold of a stack of freebies and headed out for a night at the ballyard.

My (metaphorical) ticket to the game.
My (metaphorical) ticket to the game.

Mr. Tux’s grand marketing scheme had only one problem. When you reassemble a wedding party of groomsmen, especially guys in their 20s, you’re kinda inviting them to recreate the bachelor party. And when they don’t have to buy tickets, that leaves at least $10 or $12 in their pockets to spend on drinks — a sum that went farther in 1999 than it does today.

And so it was that the bleachers on a Tuesday night against Minnesota took on a beer-fueled electricity, as hundreds if not thousands of grooms and groomsmen got cheerfully sloshed and set about cheering on the Olde Towne Team.

(And not just the team. At one point in mid-game, a rousing chant of “Mis-ter Tux! Mis-ter Tux! Mis-ter Tux!” took root in the bleachers and spread. It was hilarious.)

I don’t think I’ve felt an atmosphere quite like that at a sporting event since. It wasn’t completely rowdy per se — there weren’t many more fights than you usually saw at Fenway back then. Still, the crowd felt amped up like a playoff game, and it felt like a couple of bad calls would get a whole lot of people pissed off in a hurry.

Pedro was on the mound that night, and he did his part to send Mr. Tux’s army of wayward sons home happy. Eight innings, eight strikeouts, and not too much trouble except for a rough spot in the top of the third.

Tim Wakefield worked the ninth for the save (!). The Sox won. And a whole bunch of guys east of Worcester (not including me, for the record) went to work hung over the next day.

Mis-ter Tux! Mis-ter Tux!