To the coooool notes of the Beatles, “Hey Jude” (“better better better better”), Frank Sinatra’s “I Wish You Love” (“and in July, a lemonade, to cool you in the summer shade”), Simon and Garfunkle, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (“like a bridge over troubled waters, I will lay you down”), and Richard and Mimi Farina, “Pack Up Your Sorrows” (“you’ve got to pack up your sorrows, and give them all to me, you would lose them, I know how to use them”), we hear AND IN JULY A LEMONADE: A MEDITATION ON TRANSFORMATION BUTTERFLIES DO IT AND POETS DO IT TOO-- WHAT POETRY MAKES OF LIFE’S LEMONS Will the change, says Rilke. (Or, depending upon the translator, Want the transformation). You must change your life. Rumi says yes, no, accept the state of unknowing; welcome the Guest however interruptive or disruptive; so says bossy Kabir; and so says Jane Hirshfield—that shining white bull appearing in your pasture, however bad or confusing news as it seems, should be treated as a gift with all your hospitality aglow. And so our show today, for a hot July, is how poets prescribe lemonade out of life’s lemons. On the headstone of Jackson Pollack’s grave are these words, “Artists and poets are the raw nerve ends of humanity. By themselves they can do little to save humanity. Without them there would be little worth saving.” What work that poets do is *so little* yet enough to make life worth living, no matter how difficult or full of sorrow? We are savoring the sweetness of the poetry of transformation, lemons into lemonade, change that becomes us as we become who we are meant to be on this journey. I would do it all again, says Wendell Berry. That’s the spirit of lemonade. So let’s hear Berry, Hirshfield, Rumi, Kabir, Leonard Cohen, Jack Gilbert, Cavafy (there’s a theme of Greek mythology and living on Greek islands). Kabir lays out what’s at stake: “Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive . . . Jump into experience while you are alive . . .” Hope for lemons, the white bull in the pasture, interruption, disruption, whatever threatens to unseat us: so say our poets, giving us a way of knowing what it means to be alive. Sip, sip, the lemonade, as we slow down, for the news we need “without which men die miserably every day” (William Carlos Williams). © Barbara Mossberg 2013 Write: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you. And on the Monterey Peninsula, August 3, we celebrate Rumi, “we shall be a mighty kindness,” bring your favorite Rumi poems and ears and hear Rumi in Persian! The little house in Jewell Park, Pacific Grove, sponsored by the City of Pacific Grove Poet in Residence Program, 4-6 pm. Contact the Pacific Grove Poetry Collective on facebook!