“I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness”—e.e. cummings
Will you come said the sun?
Soon said the moon.
How far said the star.
I’m there said the air.And there YOU are, we’re all hear hear, in the air of radio, that’s e.e. cummings and Nancy Willard waving to you on our Poetry Slow Down, produced by our KRXA 540AM team led by Sara Hughes, I’m Professor Barbara Mossberg, and we’re slowing down for the sounds of poetry at this time of winter solstice, the turnaround of the year when starting right now the days move from the shortest wan-est waning-est to getting lighter earlier later and longer. Is there any more important time symbolically for us? Beginning with celebrations of winter solstice by the Iranian community in Los Angeles, taking Hafez’s poems “randomly” for advice to questions and interpretation of wishes, we consider the poetry of Hafez–
And this kind of love inspired Hafez, whom we’re celebrating winter solstice with—love like the sun that illuminates what is inside is the heart of Hafez’s message: the shining in you, Poetry Slow Down listener: One day the sun admitted, I am just a shadow. I wish I could show you The Infinite Incandescence That has cast my brilliant image!
I wish I could show you, When you are lonely or in darkness, The astonishing Light Of your own Being!
That’s why we’re glad the sun is coming sooner, and staying longer, the astonishing light of YOUR own being, and on this topic we will be back anon, like a new day for Part Two of our Poetry Slow Down, KRXA 540AM, I’m Professor Barbara Mossberg
We proceed with and Rumi, and John Donne. Having gained more day, what do we do with it? We hear from Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman, and Daisaku Ikeda, who calls Whitman “my sun.”
We proceed with Mark Strand’s “Even this late the bones of the body shine/ and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.” It is all about the shining we see in each other, being both sun and moon in each other’s lives. e.e. cummings said about the pivotal moment, as our darkest days are becoming right now lighter, “Yours is the light by which my spirit’s born: – you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.” Isn’t this what we say when we want to tell someone they mean to us, they mean utterly—this sky-worth of cosmological miracle and mystery that lights us, and I say that about you, Poetry Slow Down, our KRXA 540AM team, Producer Sara Hughes, who also produces our podcast at BarbaraMossberg.com, and all our time together this really short day until the time we will have light to squander, and each moment of darkness and stars will be squirreled away for a different kind of shine, but all that will wait. For now, poetry shines a light into the light that is you, that you give off: as William Blake said, he whose face gives off no light will never become a star. But peering into poetry’s tangling with light and love, we find a mirror of our own longings and belongings for and with each other and this blazing capacity to love, to believe, and to hope. Thank you for joining me on this journey through the radio waves and ways of being together slowing down with poetry (Neruda’s “twelve step” program on “Keeping Quiet”). I’m yours truly, Professor Barbara Mossberg: anon!
© Barbara Mossberg 2013