Our show reviews a history of writing passionately about earth, with conscience and anguish and infinite belief in the reader to do act on behalf of earth, focusing on David Brower (Archdruid of John McPhee fame, and Sierra Club director) and John Muir, as activist poets, and T.S. Eliot and F. Scott Fitzgerald, with notes of Gilgamesh, James Fennimore Cooper, Nathanael Hawthorne, and William Faulkner. Of course we end with Emily Dickinson on the environmentally correct way to see earth (ponder . . . an Experiment of Green/as if it were his own). And thus earth says, somebody sees me! Saved! Saved!
Now more than ever:
There is but one ocean though its coves have many names, a single sea of atmosphere, with no coves at all, the miracle of soil, alive and giving life, lying thin on the only earth, for which there is no spare. We seek a renewed stirring of love for the earth. We plead that what we are capable of doing to it is often what we ought not to do. We urge that all people now determine that an untrammeled wildness shall remain here to testify that this generation had love for the next. We would celebrate a new renaissance. . . (“Credo,” David Brower).
The old one found a way to exploit. The new one has discovered the earth’s limits. Knowing them, we may learn anew what compassion and beauty are, and pause to listen to the earth’s music. We may see that progress is not the accelerating speed with which we multiply and subdue the earth nor the growing number of things we possess and cling to. It is a way along which to search for truth, to find serenity and love and reverence for life, to be part of an enduring harmony trying hard not to sing out of tune.
This is David R. Brower’s poem Credo welcoming you to our Poetry Slow Down, the news you need, the news you need, the news without which men die miserably every day, so says William Carlos Williams, poet and subject of the new film Paterson, named for the town in which he wrote and the title of his epic poem, we’re produced by Zappa yes as in Frank Zappa Johns, and I’m your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, Dr. B, with news in between the headline, fast-breaking news, I like to say, revealing the poetry in that news, and so often the news itself is inextricable from poetry, and in these days we have headlines and editorials about our show topic, and we were talking about this on our show four years ago and eight years ago and to tell you the truth, this show is old as the hills which were first written about by our human poets—I say human because you could say that earth is a poet and trees are poems, ACTUALLY, a poet DID say this, Kahil Gibran, trees are poems the earth writes, and he’s not the only one . . . as I was saying, our show today has a topic of how poets talk about what’s going on with earth, . Our show today which I’ve been looking forward to for months celebrates a new book entitled Passion for Place,–so new that right after the show today I’m hopping right over to a book signing and reading by some of its authors—more on this anon–on how people in one community reflect on their watershed . . . through poetry and song and art . . .and reflect their passion for place, and so I wanted to lead us off with Credo . . .
© Barbara Mossberg 2017
THE POETRY SLOW DOWN
With Professor Barbara Mossberg/Dr. B
Produced by Zappa Johns
February 12, 2017