(Would a tree ask this question?) Meanwhile, or is it rather kindwhile, but meanwhile in terms of ways and means, how do we spend our time when things are loosey goosey and goose droppings of news are drooping like rain—here (hear hear!) is the news you need, the news you heed, the news without which men die miserably every day, so says William Carlos Williams, the physician, who would know: poetry’s role in our day, poetry’s say: today, a red letter day, and we’ll talk about what that even means, we have good news, which is how earnest science perseveres to give us facts to live by, to prevent bad news, immediate and longterm; we have news about the diagnosis of the rare Codex (sp?) disease, in which someone feels slightly dead, not alive, but rather in an afterlife, as if one is not real . . .Poetry can do something about this!–and it occurred to me that this is what Dickinson describes in so many poems, that experience of having died but being there—did she have this? And yet, the wonder about one’s being alive is so human, so lively: it is wonderful, and poetry captures it.
I’M A LONELY STRANGER HERE (Clapton) here there is no place that does not see you (Rilke): YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO PRISON—A POEM HAS YOUR BACK. Yes, there is an epidemic that on the surface seems bewildering, counterintuitive—elderly people committing crimes to get arrested, petty shoplifting—especially women, with children and grandchildren and often spouses, ladies who want to get away—from where they are known but invisible, as they see it—to be actually known—and the only place they can come up with is prison—which turns out to be not only not so bad but a place where they are seen at last. Our shoe today examines how poetic feet can take you away to yourself, how poems can see you, and with poetry, you’ll never walk alone.
A shoe for you, kicking up those poetic feet that will lift your spirits, the news you need, the news you heed, the news without which men die miserably every day—so says Dr. William Carlos Williams, and we’ll hear ideas for poems that will save trees by students in the Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon, my ecoliteratis—pre-meds, pre-laws, majors in chemistry, math, music, philosophy, business, physics, journalism, and “undeclared,” who cite chapter and verse for how and why to save a tree, and in the process, and perhaps bees, and heal your wheeze and knees, profess hope in what can happen for our earth, if we but take up the pen and use our words . . . . Thank you for listening to our PoetrySlowDown, broadcasting weekly since 2008, on words that matter, words that reveal what matters, matters requiring words.
© Barbara Mossberg 2018