–What To Feed The Elephant in the Room

“miraculous beings come running to help” (Rumi)

Your A  Team  When  It  Matters  Most

A recent MOHS surgery to remove cancer from one’s nose (n.b.: wear sun block!) and my friends’ recent experiences in waiting rooms following major medical procedures have me reflecting:

What or whom to take with you to the waiting room—the room literally where you await procedures and news of procedures, trepidation the elephant in the room—hope and despair squabbling in the corner! Me! Excuse me? I will be good health to you! Oh, is that you, Walt? “I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

As soon as I say we’re in a waiting room, we have a poet volunteer, Mr. Whitman, auditioning for the role of ultimate waiting room companion: Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders,

I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait. ”

 “I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”

Well now, wait a sec, a squadron comes running like Rumi’s poem “Zero Circle,” one after another insisting on being the thing itself, our team in any such situation—of course Walt Whitman will leap up in our imagination, in his tramp-style loafing way, but—of course, and makes total sense, here’s Churchill, who died this week fifty years ago and whose life is being celebrated for a year beginning this weekend, including right here, what he means in our lives when the stakes are high, and is that William Blake hanging on the tree outside the window, like some angel with billowing banners of verse?—And old Stanley Kunitz, are you here? Who survived a hundred years of this? The music from Steven Sondheim and Jacques Brel is a fitting soundtrack for our show, “No love you’re not alone,” and “you are not alone,” from Into the Woods, as we wait there bandaged in the waiting room, and right next to us all along is the fierce Mary Oliver, whom you want as your advocate, and more, providing us words for this moment, to absorb us, inspire us, focus us, all the moments in which our fates seem out of our hands.


Join me for our Poetry Slow Down, as we hold our horses, stop the boat, slow down in this hurtling life for the “news without which men die miserably every day,” the news we need, the news we heed, news feed streaming live Sunday noon-1 pm radiomonterey.com, and podcast at BarbaraMossberg.com. Produced by Sara Hughes. I’m Professor Barbara Mossberg, thanking you for joining me on this journey as we step up with poetic feet to make the most of the gift of consciousness together here on earth.

© Barbara Mossberg 2015

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