Whoever Brought Me Here
All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there. This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth? Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home. This poetry. I never know what I’m going to say. I don’t plan it. When I’m outside the saying of it, I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.
That’s Rumi, and this is Professor Barbara Mossberg, hi hi hi hi! How are you today? At our own self-declared happy hour, our Poetry Slow Down, Produced by Zappa Johns in our studios on the West Coast, bridging the Monterey Pennisula, Pasadena, and Eugene, Oregon, and here we are in the middle of our lives, in the middle of our day, in the middle and muddle of our 21st century, coming on the anniversary of 9-11, in the throes of fires, floods, hurricanes, and we’re thinking about being human on this planet, hearing a man who wrote over 700 years ago, in fact, who didn’t even write, who spoke and sang, and other people wrote down his words while he whirled and swirled around like a twirling dervish, which he was. He escaped the ravaging of Genghis Khan, walking 2000 miles from Afghanistan to Turkey, and who knows what calamities he saw, what he experienced in his world? This poetry, he says. I never know what I’m going to say, I don’t plan it. What is it that poetry allows us to say, that we don’t or can’t say in our so –called real lives? So we’re hearing Rumi, Mary Oliver, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Muriel Rukheyser, Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, W. B. Yeats, and many others . . . joyous energy as you look into the mirror that is poetry, and hear ways to answer “how’s your day going?” and “do you have plans for the rest of the day?” Let it rhyme, as Sir Van Morrison says, or free style it, and say, I am slowing down for poetry, I am shaking my white locks at the sun, I am naked dancing in my kitchen, I am on my knees admiring a grasshopper, I am seeing an amazing day with leaping greenly spirits of trees, and everything that is natural that is infinine that is yes. And more . . . . c Barbara Mossberg 2017