â€œThe explorer finds little evidence for any of the way Homer describes Troy . . . Yet here, in the mindâ€™s eye, stood an awe-inspiring city with soaring battlements dominating the plans. Homer and the bards were not deliberate liars, they were describing the place as poets. The magic of their words took a minor citadel and turned it into a stupendous stronghold immortalized in their descriptions. This is a credit to poetic imagination . . . [the poet] takes human figures and transmutes them into heroes. He inflates ordinary places so as to make them seem vast and impressive.â€ This, Poetry Slow Down, seems a great way to understand how epic poetry can inspire mere us to see our lives as heroicâ€”no, not mere usâ€”because what poets have their fingers on the pulse of, us, is the magnitude, I think, of our actual being; we are large to ourselves, our hungers, our pains, our fears, our hopes, our joys . . . the obstacles in the path, blocking our dreams, are huge to usâ€”monsters, giants, huge forces . . . and every day, we confront and face them, and it requires bravery to be us, regular us, strength, resolve, resilience. . . When we read these poems describing the taking on of larger monstrous forces, itâ€™s our inner life we are experiencing . . . a reality. Cervantes in the 1500s shows a man reading epic who transforms a dispiriting everyday life into something heroic. Paul Farmer, reading this literature, believes he can do something, be something . . . more . . . useful. To â€œshine in use,â€ as Tennyson says in â€œUlysses.â€
To occasions, when weâ€™re knocked down, low, heavy heart, how we have it in us to do so, how weâ€™re called on to do so, called for, and what poetry has to do with it. A rousing show, to lift, hoist, heave us aloft–down to earth wisdom from THE PoetrySlowDown with Professor Mossberg, â€œthe news we need, the news we heed, the news without which men die miserably every dayâ€ (and we wonâ€™t let that happen, ever). And on this note we sing of Leonard Cohen, a supermoon pulling our heartâ€™s tides.
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.â€”Einstein
Iâ€™m trying to find something true that canâ€™t be expressed by math.â€”J.D. Roberts
Can haiku save the day? We know sonnets can. Itâ€™s all about the math. It’s all about the equals sign, the existential triumph of it, the metaphor.