Who understands e=mc²? It takes a genius, right? Do we think genius is beyond us? That genius is Einstein maybe, but not you? Do we think Einstein is in his own orbit, far removed from us? We may think knowledge of the world is far from what we can grasp in our everyday life–and thus let it go as an intellectual luxury we cannot afford, and turn back to our daily reality, the shoelace and the biscuit, the diagnosis, the wine, the tomato harvested from the garden. Love—worry, trying so hard to do the right thing—these are our joys and work. And as for Emerson, well, is he just impossible to understand to the point of irrelevance?
Let us consider poetry as necessary for life as soil. Just because nutritious soil is necessary to life, all our lives on earth, does not mean it is not downright miraculous. A little clay here, rock there, dust, remains, odds and ends of minerals, a hodgepodge of organic and inorganic grow beanstalks for giants. And so poetry, remarkable makings of new life and old life, what is mud and what shines, the quotidian reality revealed as utterly remarkable. It turns out nursery rhymes are literal. People live in shoes. The dish runs away with the spoon. When we figure out dark energy, phantom energy, we’ll know this was right. We’ll know it is violin music that makes the chemicals in soil come to life, the spirit, God’s breath. As we consider harvest days, and pumpkins in the fields, it’s not the pumpkin spice we love in all the products now flavored with pumpkin, it’s the orange, the roundness we want, that we taste, it’s the goodness of its soil that makes the orange and the round, the remarkable of everything we see, everything we are. This is the dust of our minds, of our spirits, this not taking for granted what is here, this is the spin, the miracle of it.c Barbara Mossberg 2019
Food is on my mind, as you see, but on your mind as well. I know this, because you have written me about our “helpful banana bread” series on the poetry of food and hunger. So I’m in. This show does include an original recipe for pumpkin soup, so keep your pens handy—you remember pens—you remember hands—you remember hands—of course you do—you’re the POETRY SLOW DOWN, you’re evolved, you’re ancient wisdom on which so much depends, your ears are what the doctor ordered, the earth needs now: so HEAR’s the skinny (alas) on food from the point of view of your radio host, I’m your Professor Barbara Mossberg, aka Dr. B, produced by our faithful Zappa Johns, yes THAT Zappa, a West Coast commitment along the tectonic plates, and speaking of plates, and plating it, let’s begin, let’s gather at the table, for the Contents! The Tableof Contents! Ah, I get it, Dr. B! Of course you do—you’re the POETRY SLOW DOWN.