Joni Mitchell ., Big Yellow Taxi (we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden)
Jonathan Elias, Requiem for the Americas, Songs from the Lost World
Stephen Stills, Garden of Eden
Elvis Presley, Love Me Tender
You don’t think I would let you back into the fray, good friends, once more, without hope! Without a poet’s vision of the human spirit, how we can go on, suffering disasters of every kind, and desiring to somehow make of our experience every day something precious, as precious as this earth and its miracle of soil and regeneration, we who live, we who have died and am alive again today—e.e. cummings–, as we are so reminded in this strange time of year, middle March, gusty, feisty, balmy, wherever you live, it’s dynamic, and a lens through which to look at this life on this earth . . . this show has evolved today, as I have listened to the news, taking on its own momentum as I have thought of the role of poetry in the human spirit enduring loss of garden, of habitat, of life on earth, we’re going to conclude with a grand finale of Antilamentation, Dorianne Laux’s poem sent by listener Bobbi Ehrenpreis, followed by a Nobel Laureate in Literature who is the most famous person in the world, I think, for resistance to despair at life’s darkest moments, followed by a moving account of a decision through the lens of another anti-lamentian John Muir not to despair, Karen Bryant, one of my students at the Union Institute and University interdisciplinary doctoral program, and finally, wham pow beautiful fireworks, back in Brooklyn—our original Eden, garden, where we all end up, with a poem of hope written by our own listener Charles Tripi following our Brooklyn series, and I’m so fortunate to be on this journey with you, listeners of this poetry show, I wish you could meet each other! You are each so wonderful, HELOOOOO Gilbert! Master of the Amtrak station in Salinas, steps away from the John Steinbeck center, Gilbert, Who sold me my ticket the other morning and looked up as I spoke, you’re the poetry lady! I don’t know who was more excited to meet each other, he or me, and your letters and your comments make my day—so along with, Gilbert! Whoooo whooooo!!!!! All aboard! We’re on our way . . . We’ll be joined by Yeats and Wordsworth and Mary Oliver and Thrishana Pothupitiya and William Ernest Henley and Emily Dickinson and I’ll share with you some of my poetry and we’ll begin with your favorite of all, Rumi, 13th century Afghani poet writing from Turkey, as we are sent off by another listener of spirit, giving us a nut to squirrel away for dark and hard times, here’s what Elaine Buldoc sent:
Elaine Buldoc sends us Rumi, *”God will break your heart over and over and over and over and over again, until you can leave it open.” ~ Rumi .
Dear March, come in! Slow down—breathe– . . . it’s middle March, and yes, we’re going to be talking about March like we do, like we like to do: “Dear March” was Emily Dickinson, greeting her dearest friend from the year, and this is Professor Barbara Mossberg, your host of KRXA 540AM’s The Poetry Slow Down, where you and I squirrel time in our day, from our week, save time by savoring time (do you know the dictionary says to squirrel means to hoard, and squirrely is a term meaning “offensive, “ that which is characteristic of squirrels?). Isn’t that the way? For something so wise from nature as a plucky animated determined model for preserving resources, stayin’ alive, a sustainable plan to draw from when everything seems bereft and nothing left and depleted—just when you need it—a nut, solace in a shell, that’s what we need today, with news for which, in T.S. Eliot’s words, we have to get squirrely, shore up against our ruins—what? Poems, O Poetry Slow Down flight of listeners! We hear the news, and for our hearts to take it all in, the heart-breaking, late-breaking, fast-breaking news, we need to squirrel away the vision poetry gives us, for our minds—neuroscience confirms this every day—to MARCH to the music of a different drummer than despair, in ways to make us healthy and wealthy in spirit and wise . . . .My heart is full as I share with you today another reason for leading off with Emily Dickinson, who is a celebrity disaster poet, a poet of external and interior seismic storms and cataclysms, who has this tremendous empathy and respect for nature, and the immensity of our loss and grief . . . huge grief to her is also experienced in particular, with each person, each ache: and she loved nature, and she often saw how humanity and nature are exquisitely in harmony, and in tragedy with great epic forces, and she is loved in Japan, and one of the members of our Emily Dickinson International Society, is missing; she was in Sendai, near to the river, which had a thirty foot wall of water –which you probably saw on tv filled with cars and houses and fires–descend on it; we are standing by with prayers and thoughts, and of course, like you, I am listening to the news . . . so our show today, which was going to be about the transition from Brooklyn, where I just have been—to Alaska, where I just came from—on the theme of paradise lost, we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden, is . . . still going to be about the transition from Brookyn, East of Eden, we could say, to Alaska and Japan, on the theme of paradise lost, “we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”– Poetry of Loss of this Loved Earth and Its Creatures, continued, with voices of forgiveness, redemption, and hope! And the spirit to go on. . . . And poetry says, that’s what I’m talking about!
© Barbara Mossberg 2011