Things are heating up here in the state of Oregon where the governor just resigned—Valentine’s Day—coincidence? It’s all about love, it seems to me, and there’s a history of leaders brought down or giving up their power for love.

There’s Edward VIII with Wallis Simpson, of a compromising background, heir and successor to the throne as King of England, and Anthony and Cleopatra:

Tragic, comic, history, romance—-if we listen to the soundtrack of our lives, What’s love got to with it? What is love? If we only have love, we contemplate love, this love of ours, whether affliction or salvation, we people, for better and worse, and what poetry’s got to do with it.

On our show today, the news we need, the news we heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there,” the Rx our show’s resident doctor William Carlos Williams prescribes, we hear the news in poetry, of poetry, of love we have for each other, creatures, our earth, its weeds and wild self, life’s gnarliness, wrinkles, sags, and the beating heart itself.

What’s at stake in our capacity to love? And most of all, Poetry Slow Down, how is poetry our magic mirror showing us what in us is lovable? And so loved?

So let’s hear a little about love in history, where a political leader is besotted with unseemly love for someone outside the formal ruling family and social order, perceived to be scheming—very much like Wallis Simpson and the King of England abdicating for her—and it turned out really badly for everyone—in her words, “you have no idea how hard it is to live out a great romance,” with an ancient story from Plutarch over 2000 years ago that was taken up by Shakespeare in Anthony and Cleopatra, a great post Valentine story about the power of love, but first we’ll hear what Shakespeare himself thinks about love in his own life, in his faux-worry sonnets, his great pity party Sonnet 73, and we’ll hear about the role of the neocortex, the ability to love, and what this brain power gives us that is so much more powerful than power itself, and we’ll hear poignant neo love expressed for earth and things earthly . . .  . and my own valentine to you, our listeners, earthy, worldly, indeed, my sunshine . . . . for our Poetry Slow Down, with Professor Barbara Mossberg, radiomonterey.com, Sundays noon-1 pm, produced and podcast by Sara Hughes.

February 15, 2015 © Barbara Mossberg

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