To the music of “Gravity” by The Perfect Sphere, “Defying Gravity,” Wicked, “Fly Me to the Moon,” Frank Sinatra, “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” Stylistics, “Love (Is All There Is), Beatles, and “Skiddamarink,” we start with William Stafford’s poem “You, Reading This, Be Ready,” and the so-called “news” from the world of physics that Einstein’s theory of relativity predicted gravitational waves. (I know you know what I’m going to say, that poets predicted this, talked all about it, and that is true, of course, beginning with our claiming Einstein as ours, a poet, his e=mc2 being all about the equals sign, the genius in seeing one thing connected to another: metaphor! I’m just sayin.)
But ripples, curvature, gravitational waves, light, energy, swirling masses drawn to each other, becoming something new in the process, less and more, and more complex, and eternal, yes, that’s poetry terrain, time and space, poetry has it covered. Emily Dickinson had it that “the brain is wider than the sky,” and certainly, how we’re pulled about each other, sometimes sideways, sometimes sidesways, sometimes down, sometimes upside down, sometimes up, yes, we each exert a pull of gravity, including on one another. So since I brought her up, let’s take Emily Dickinson as an example, “To my small hearth his fire came.” This poem is a fractal of the physics that is on the airwaves today, showing how we speak of love in the language of physics and chemistry and astronomy and geology, perhaps because to love is to express the music of the spheres, i.e., matter and all that matters. We hear how to love someone is inextricable from how we know and love earth, in Ken Kesey (Save Kesey Square!), Wadjdi Mouawad (from Scorched), Walt Whitman, William Stafford, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Robert Ronnow, John Frederick Nims, C.D. Wright, Charles Wright, and because two Wrights make a third Wright, James Wright—each on the role of light in love, and the moon gets into the act, of course, and we hear W.B. Yeats, and me, e.e. cummings, Li Po, Eleanor Wilner, and then we get down to the heart of the matter, a dust up by Marilyn Nelson, and ultimate love poem on these themes, Rupert Brooke, concluding with a letter by Einstein on love, in which he proves our theory that e=mc2 is a poem saying love is all there is, power, light, energy, gravitational force . . . “the one and only answer.” We wind down with Nancy Willard’s homage to William Blake, and my anti-gravity poem about my mom, and the great earth-love Valentine’s song, “Skiddamarink,” and we look forward to a future show on “Hamilton” and keeping UP with the news, what we need, what we heed, and send love to you, O listener of our Poetry Slow Down, way down, weigh down . . .as we lift ourselves up against all that weighs us down, in gravitational waves, my radio wave to you, yours truly, Professor Barbara Mossberg.
THE POETRY SLOW DOWN
With Professor Barbara Mossberg
Produced by Zappa Johns
February 14, 2016
© Barbara Mossberg 2016