The new year slumbers

Restless beneath quilted white

Dreaming of roses—

That’s California State University Professor Pam Baker, haikuing it up in mid January, and this is Professor Barbara Mossberg, hi you, haiku, Pam’s grand slam haiku, we’re at the Poetry Slow Down, KRXA 540AM, with Producer Sara Hughes, and the subject was roses, but we’ve still got roses on our mind–your fault, O flight of Poetry Slow Down radio waving community! This past week, you were so SWEET, sending poems and responses to our show, the green bough in our heart at bmossberg@csumb.edu, and the show began, give me a rose in the winter time, when it’s hard to find, give me a rose in the winter time, I’ve got roses on my mind, for a rose is sweet most any time and yet, give me a rose in the winter time, how easy to forget, and who can give us a rose in the wintertime, who are we asking—and voila, here comes running on poetic feet, iambically limb-ered, hell0, poets (if roses didn’t exist poets would have invented them, they are the ultimate symbol for whatever poets want to talk about—the big things); maybe it’s the poets singing give me a rose in the wintertime, when it’s hard to find. . . I’ve got roses on my mind . . . the poet in each of us, appealing to the Muse, in the wintertime of our imaginations, our spirits, when it’s bleak: our muse is a rose gardener, making roses bloom year round in poetry, and for us, poets till our souls’ gardens and cultivate roses out of the dark rich soil of our imaginations: so I gave you a little bouquet of poems and poets who have roses on their minds . . . who knew that it was going to turn out that  literature is a hothouse of roses. We continue with Pablo Neruda (and check out Carmel, California’s Cherry Center’s exhibition on artist Mary Heebner, who does paintings in response to Neruda’s poetry). Recalling Neruda’s poetry on roses, we trace the influences on Neruda, Shakespeare, William Blake, Walt Whitman (and Edgar Allen Poe, celebrate him this week with cognac and three roses), Garcia Lorca, and Cervantes, and their exquisite poems on roses. We hear from poets we love on weeds wax on roses, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Theodore Roethke, and follow up Roethke on roses with roses in Stanley Kunitz, Stanley Plumley, Rita Dove, Mary Oliver, St. Exupery, Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and W.S. Merwin, as poet and translator (of Neruda). Why does it matter that roses bloom year-round in poetry? Your own Professor holds forth on this “news we need” and the hypothesis that such poetry about the earth can change the news. More on this next week. And you are encouraged to contribute to a California Poet Laureate project I am excited to support that bridges painting and poetry (see below). I can’t remember when I have so enjoyed researching a show and reading listener mail on this topic—and it was all because of you. There are dozens of poets and poems on the subject of roses we did not even get to! Next week, stay tuned for poetry and civil rights, but don’t be surprised if roses are still on our minds. . .

© Barbara Mossberg 2011

Upcoming Event! Febuary 15, 2011

Dr. Mossberg

Professor Barbara Mossberg:
“We know writing is transformational for the writer, but for the world, the real world? Cultural data from earliest recorded history shows literary arts transforming social, political, civic, and environmental dimensions of our lives for war and peace and civil and  human rights.”

Dr. Mossberg believes that [writing] has the power to change the world. That conviction helped earn her the position of poet in residence for the city of Pacific Grove.


Does anybody really know what time it is? Drat Daylight Savings—or bless this conundrum? Who can say. The Poet can say, says Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson waxes forth in Crystal Blue Persuasion, in purple prose effusions, on a new day rising, the pros for daylight savings. Thoreau follows suit. Poet after poet wants to have a word with us. Wordsworth weighs in, Marvel, Milton, W.S. Merwin, Cesar Pavare, Louise Gluck, James Tate, Derek Wolcott, Wendell Berry, Kabir, Chuck Tripi, Ric Masten, Mary Oliver, your host, Dr. Barbara Mossberg, all in favor of daylight savings (also, T.S. Eliot, Cold Play, Bob Marley). Not sure and keeping a philosophic equanimity are Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Yogi Berra, Marilyn Monroe, and Groucho Marx. We get notes of Roethke and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Goethe, Ibsen, Benjamin Franklin, and Professor Mossberg’s father and mother-in-law. It doesn’t get better than this, on a mellow Fall day, to slow down with The Poetry Slow Down: you know you move too fast. Make the morning last and save the day by communing with poets. Rumi says the “new rule” when “everywhere is falling everywhere” is to “break the wineglass,/And fall toward the glassblower’s breath.” When we fall, Rumi says, we find something shining. Hopkins concurs (think: “flame out like shook foil”). Fall is the time to start anew in the creation process., to dig deep, for processes of renewal and restoration. Give yourself time for those like Rumi who slowed down, took the time to fall down, to get it down, who worked it up and down, worked it out, to light a way, delight our way to see and know, think and feel. Falling back for Fall: today we’ve got it all! We’ll spend this saved morning hour considering what the poets have to say about daylight and savings, and if we save light in our day, how do we spend it, or do we get interest?
We’ve been engaged in a Poetry Slow Down series in which we consider lifesaving, life-thriving poetic philosophies of life, considering how our light is spent. Of course we discuss Restore Hetch Hetchy and W.S. Merwin’s restoration commitments, and Professor Mossberg’s experience at the Inaugural Reading at the Library of Congress and delivering congratulations from this remarkable poetry community. We still don’t get to the points of view of those with four legs or eight legs, but stay tuned, and we’ll continue our series with the Hospitaliad, and Attitudes of Gratitude, and the sonnet problem-solving workshop, and the Emily Dickinson birthday celebration, all coming up, so set your watches whichever way– Thoreau says it doesn’t matter what time it says as long as it’s morning.  We’ll go with Thoreau, because you can listen to this show anytime and morning is yours for the listening. Thank you and please write comments to bmossberg@csumb.edu.

Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Mossberg on the theme of falling for a time of year that is regenerative, restorative, and reviving—if we look at nature which is never “spent”:

This Time Is Not Sailboat Without Wind

What did Eliot say, wait without hope. Then Einstein. If e=mc2, waiting is patience. Patience is suffering (ergo “patient’s” two meanings). Frankl said: Strive to deserve our suffering. Think cross legged guru on mountain impossible to get to. With winds howling and no water. It is a feint. The winter trees. It seems like nothing is going on or worse. A time in between, the time you already think of as before. But it is when it is all happening. The later shoots and blossoms and fruits are just by-products of this period, signs it happened. The generative fantastic work, roots in soil, nurtured. You are this winter tree. And when you are doing all that you will do, the fruits and sensational flowers and the squirrels who can’t get enough of you and the birds clamoring for you, and clouds making state visits, and a raccoon or two, worms and butterflies think you are the thing indeed, and moss hangs around, you’re grounded, what you know is that it was all those months when it was storm. When you were tattered, leaves left you in droves, you had nothing for anybody, and all your beauty was whooshed. When you stood there exposed. When it looked like it was nothing happening and there was nothing there to see.  That it was over. This was the time. This was the time during. This was the good time.  c Barbara Mossberg 2010