Because you are. You will be. You have been. This happens to us all. Literally and metaphorically, we all find ourselves up on the roof, a grizzly bear circling below (you hear about it in the news, but this actually happened when I was being recruited for a job in Alaska, and no, I am not writing you from my job in Alaska, although I think every day how amazing it would have been to be there with all those writers and artists and scientists and aurora borealis), the flood waters rising below (as we just have been seeing in the news this past week), people being mean to you in your life (see Steve Martin’s Roxanne), and in general being adrift, at sea in your life, unsettled, awash, in crisis, self-exiled, and, as you survey the scene, for this moment, safe.
It’s a straddled stage, a life stage and a real stage, in life’s theater, and you’re the star, the hero. You may not feel like it—you may feel exhausted and full of fear, dazed, in shock—and if you’re like me, you may also feel afraid of heights, which doesn’t help—but if you take out your poetry, that you have handy in a Ziplock bag, you clever remembering person you, you have the equivalent of water and dry clothes and all you need to get through this time, to see yourself, your plight, your fright, your day and night, with light, and even delight. I’m not just rhyming here, for the sake of this earthly primal pleasure of mind-sounds. Poetry can be a way to find yourself when you find yourself up on the roof, when you wind up on life’s roof, wondering WTH. We’ll hear poetry for this occasion, and you may be so absorbed in this poetry that when your rescuers come, and you see how and why to get off this roof, you may want to just stay up there. You may even think that poetry takes you up on the roof whenever you need this perspective, this safe spot, this vantage, this getaway. You may even think it floats your boat. You may think it is the boat. So thank you for joining me up on the roof . . . . there’s room enough for two, for me and you . . . .slowing down.
© Barbara Mossberg 2017