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  • Writer's picturerhapsodydmb


First, two points of good news,

(1) re-announcing my first-ever radio appearance reading a year ago, of one of my more humorous, feminist poems about the flap over pianist Yuja Wang's dress code, "The Little Gold Dress", and

(2) announcing my February 14 first-ever online publication of one of my poems, by the University of Vermont's lifelong learning department; it's a paean to my present poetry-appreciation zoom class Professor Emeritus of English, Huck Gutman.

I so love humor and often turn to it for light-hearted solace, considering the solemn matter raised in this blog's title (to be addressed later, but now soliciting your responses and ideas, should you care to share them).

Professor Gutman ended our poetry class today (focused on the poems of Gwendolyn Brooks), by lamenting about the state of suffering, likely felt more keenly by many of us due in part or large part to the years we have endured because of the advent, risks and social restrictions of Covid. I'm not one to argue against that source of suffering, to be sure.

I emailed the professor after class, including a poem I find of solace, by Spanish poet Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (29 September 1864 – 31 December 1936), who was a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, and Greek professor, and later rector at the University of Salamanca.

Over a year ago when I was lamenting the same situation as today, my fine artist good friend Jordan Hines, sent it to me and by my office desk it remains, easy to read every day. Of course, Unamuno was a man of his more patriarchal times and Latin culture, so I have amended one word in it to include womankind. Still, I cannot miss the male referent in the title; also, being retired, I would now rewrite the poem to say "Cast your creativity and kindness as you walk, and do your work paid or unpaid, as a human being".

I'll leave it mainly as it was written for now, in hopes that you like it, too:

Throw Yourself Like Seed


Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit;

sluggish you will never see the wheel of fate

that brushes your heel as it turns going by,

the human who wants to live is the human in whom life is abundant.

Now you are only giving food to that final pain

which is slowly winding you in the nets of death,

but to live is to work, and the only thing which lasts

is the work; start then, turn to the work.

Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and into your own field,

don't turn your face for that would be to turn it to death,

and do not let the past weigh down your motion.

Leave what's alive in the furrow, what's dead in yourself,

for life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds;

from your work you will be able one day to gather yourself.


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