POETRY SLOW DOWN
Dr. Barbara Mossberg
Produced by Sara Hughes
March 30, 2014
© Barbara Mossberg 2014
BUDS: PAEANS FOR THIS MESSY TIME OF YEAR AS WINTER TURNS INTO SPRING, LOVE AND FISHIN AND WHAT EARTH IS UP TO AND WE’RE YET UP FOR, answering “what’s my line”
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
. . .
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
. . .
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, . .
From Mary Oliver’s “Poenies,” in just spring—when the world is mud luscious and puddle wonderful–e.e. cummings’s paean to Spring, and his, this is the sun’s birthday, and this is the birth day of life, and love, and of wings, and of the gay great happening illimitably earth . . . this is our Poetry Slow Down, and in this wild and wet time of year, drenched and falling down and rising up, rivers and mountains, flowers, hearts, there are floods and blossoms, it’s tremendous transitions, this is the birthday of my life companion, the elusive woodsman, my own Natty Bummpo, and since it’s his birthday, we’ll have to have a few poems about fishing, and birds, and lions, and earth—the excitement of seeing tulips and daffodils and buds everywhere—and we’ll hear poets wipe soil from their hands to pen their thoughts on the inextricable connections between the act of creating and co-creating Truth and Beauty out of earthly experience, between what is sown and grown and pruned and tended, between mortal and immortal beauty. Today and next week’s April is the cruelest show we’ll hear from TS (Eliot) and Horace, of course, Shakespeare, hear hear!, Thoreau, chanticleer, he’ll crow, Emily Dickinson, and her twin one, Whitman, ‘n Billy Collins, ‘n Gerard Manley Hopkins, and speaking of kin, W.S. Merwin, Theodore Roetkhe, not to mention Charles Tripi, yippee, James Wright, so right, Mary Oliver, we love her, Pablo Neruda, our own time’s Buddha, Gerard Stern, it’s his turn, Yeats’ one of the greats, Stanley Kunitz, his tune is my bliss, and more, galore—SCORE! Poetry of fish dead and alive, signifying sea, poetry of weed and soil, poetry telling us how to live.
Today’s show will continue next week with April-is-the-cruelest-month, with readings from Neruda, Whitman, Collins, Oliver, A.E. Housman, A.K. Stallings, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Theodore Roethke, Melanie Waters, Stanley Kunitz. Our music is “Blackberry Winter,” Conni Elisor’s work integrating strings and mountain dulcimer, Van Morrison’s “Cleaning Windows,” and Taj Mahal’s “Fishing Blues.” In song and poem, we’ll hear lushness, wetness, wildness, of our world, and how to live, how not to die miserably, going to see the cherry hung with bloom along the bough, in poetry, because fifty years, eighty years, none are enough . . . . Thank you for joining me in this time of new growth, early spring.
© Barbara Mossberg 2014