Please help yourself to an hour (plucked from Daylight Savings Time), slowing down (because you know you move too fast) for the up of the ThePoetrySlowDown that aspires to be a Holy Fire Reiki for your spirit (as poetry perhaps always has been). With our Producer Zappa Johns, on California’s Central Coast, and me, your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, known to my students and certain bartenders as Dr. B, you are taking this time for yourself to dwell in mystery and wonder, as Paul Simon sings it, or the terrain of miracle, as Einstein conceives it, or Possibility, as the quantum practitioner Emily Dickinson says is a place and way she dwells.
Through the lens of Radiotopia’s podcast with Ian Chillag, “Everything Is Alive,” which shows us how the human imagination can comprehend objects in our world as our relations, mysterious companions on this life journey—illuminating our capacities for compassion and empathy, our humility in the face of an imagined soda can or lamppost or grain of sand (as the podcast episodes introduce us), we consider a kind of quantum miracle, how a poem, nothing alive, not even here, perhaps sound waves, or a piece of paper, can touch you powerfully—or perhaps even more powerfully, than being physically touched. In Reiki, energy flows from one being to another through intention. What are the physics, as well as metaphysics, of a poem lighting you, lifting you? How is that a poem can quicken you, slow you down, make you feel seen and heard, and from what? Squiggles on a page? Someone somewhere whom you may not even know, in a language you may not even speak, in a place you have never seen, a body unlike your own, eating food you think is disgusting, perhaps ill, perhaps starving, someone you may perhaps not speak to if you passed on the street, has paused in their day to write down words. Perhaps I should not say “pause,” because perhaps what is written is the work of the day after all, the destination of one’s energy. Perhaps the poem is the path on which one finds oneself at last, even if lost, even if seeking, realizing, as Wendell Berry says in “Our Real Work,”
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
Speaking of “impeded stream,” we’ll ponder poetry as Holy Fire Reiki, how a poem can move you, touch you, ease what’s been impeding you, how something by another being removed from you in time and space can rock your world, and save us: that is the intent of the focused energy. Emily Dickinson, Thoreau, Walt Whitman, schooled by Ralph Waldo Emerson, will be revealed as quantum physicists anticipating Einstein. We’ll hear how Rilke, William Carlos Williams, James Wright, and Mary Oliver, have the specific intent to change and save our lives with their poetry, how phycisist e.e. cummings takes us from “everything is alive” to “every thing” as amazing, and how Brian Doyle gives us moving poems in Reiki style that bring us “fellow mortals” into one human coherence, and my own poem “Your Life as an Earth” joins the fray of poets with intention to save us, save the day. It’s all here (hear hear!) for your hearing, for as Walt Whitman says, your good health, and as your grateful host says, your sense of gift for consciousness on this “amazing day,” “alive again today.” That’s the intent of this Holy Fire Reiki show today, and thank you for beinghear.
© Barbara Mossberg 2019