Poetry under the Florida stars

What a week! My husband Charles Hobson finished last decade by retiring as surgical intensivist at VA Hospital and enjoyed two full days of retirement before embarking on his new adventure- surgeon intensivist at North Florida Regional Medical Center. It was not easy to say good buy to so many colleagues, friends and patients he has touched with his compassionate care, big smile and selfless dedication to medical teaching. We celebrated with Publix cake, selfie and walk down the memory lane! He has left decade of work as “Doctor Doctor” (MD, MHA toped with PhD in Health Services Research in 2019) and many publications.

But that was just a prelude to the live poetry night on January 4th to celebrate Winter Solstice, new decade and Charles Hobson‘s birthday- a brilliant idea fueled by communal love for written word shared with a group of friends and colleagues. My resolution was strenghten after reading Dana Gioia‘s essay “Can Poetry Matter?” shared by Mónica Villalón. The article eloqauntly argues how poetry has quietly became a subculture that nobody but insiders care about: “Most editors run poems and poetry reviews the way a prosperous Montana rancher might keep a few buffalo around—not to eat the endangered creatures but to display them for tradition’s sake.” The closing paragraph sealed my inspiration: “Society has already told us that poetry is dead. Let’s build a funeral pyre out of the dessicated conventions piled around us and watch the ancient, spangle-feathered, unkillable phoenix rise from the ashes.” And so we have built a beautiful bonfire under the starry Florida sky and asked a circle of friends of all convictions and feathers to recite poems they chose to enter new decade and celebrate our birthday with. Let’s free the poetry from an intellectual ghetto into the warm Floridian night and virtual universe!

This is the bright home

in which I live,

this is where

I ask

my friends

to come,

this is where I want

to love all the things

it has taken me so long

to learn to love.

“House of Belonging” is the poetry book that has guided my soul when lost in wilderness and sadness in the last two decades.” Azra

“Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!”

“Let America be America” by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

I wish words of Langston Hughes remind us of hope and true greatness of our country. Malini

“To have a New Year
Which deserves that name
You, my friend, have to deserve it,
You have to make it new, I know that it’s not easy,
But try, experiment, be conscious.
It’s inside of you that the New Year
Has always been dormant and waiting. “

RECEITA DE ANO NOVO by Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987)

The sound of the words of this poem written by one of the most important Brazilian poet resonates with the beauty of Portuguese language. Christine

“A place on the earth, untenured,
Soil, grass, brick, air; To know I will never have to move; To review the seasons from one lair.
When night comes, to lie down in peace; 
To know that I may die as I have slept;
That things will not revert to a stranger’s hand; 
That those I love may keep what I have kept.”

HOMELESS by Vikram Seth

The message of this poem is timeless.Aida


God has mercy on the kindergarten children

On the school kids, less than that

And on the grownups he has no mercy at all

He leaves them alone

Yehuda Amichai presented by Aner

“First divesting ourselves of worldly goods, as St. Francis teaches,
in order that our souls not be distracted,
by gain and loss, and in order also
that our bodies be free to move.
easily at the mountain passes, we had then to discuss
whither or where we might travel, with the second question being
should we have a purpose…”

“Parable” by Louise Glück read by Monica

“First divesting ourselves of worldly goods, as St. Francis teaches,
in order that our souls not be distracted,
by gain and loss, and in order also
that our bodies be free to move.
easily at the mountain passes, we had then to discuss
whither or where we might travel, with the second question being
should we have a purpose…”

“Parable” by Louise Glück read by Monica

The Voyage to Sweet 60s and Hawaii

January 2017 was marked our official entrance in the train of wisdom-Chuck has turned sixty with grand celebration gathering friends and family all over the country. The abundance of mesages of love and sweet memories was overwhelming. The highlight was of course a surprise visit by Chuck’s parent Ed an Jane who as always brought with them energy and good luck. Full family gathering at our favorite Gainesville restaurant Mildred’s Big City, the home of infamous Vesper Martini, created a memory for the next decade.

Big Family Portrait

Family and friends all over the country have helped me to put together surprise movie for Chuck-filled with images, audio and video messsages for his Big Sweet 60 Bday. The local crowd has filled out house with laughter and good music to enjoy sweet parfume of brisket and ribs from the Big Lee’s Barbecue and good old scotch and bourbon collection. We live to deliver on longevity and healthy food!

After a week of work in ICU we packed luggages, youngsters (Eddie and Nino) and “older kids” (Emel who just graduated from UF!) and set to fly for family voyage to Hawaii and Annual Meeting of Society of Critical Care Medicine at Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Winter Warmness In Virginia

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Charlottesville, January 1 2016. For reasons unspeakable in public Charles Hobson and I have decided to cancel our glorious plan for New Years Eve Ball Dropping Party in Gainesville and head towards Virginia to greet-and-meet with grandparents, aunts and cousins.

Warm and humid, mostly gray yet still beautiful Virginian hills and alleys proved to be a good choice. We flew to Dulles International Airport and drove through the Northern Virginia after making some funny faces…

We did some great things:

I started my tax return with TurboTax as last year I was one of millions whose identity was hacked! I love love turbotax-as experienced home-grown self-made tax filler it is far better than any accountant I had in my life time.

We stayed in Boar’s Head Inn, a colorful and old-worldly University of Virginia Resort. Afternoon cookies and tea and rock-climbing wall were the highlight of the three-day stay. Bonus was on-demand movie The Martian that entertained all family and particularly Eddie and Chuck.

For me most surprising was the day trip to James Madison’s Montpelier. I have discovered an amazing couple James and Dolly Madison, that was by far the most fascinating Founding Father for me. The passion, conviction to serve bigger cause and intellectual power of Madison resonated with my inner self. If you have a moment read remarkable short book by his personal slave, Mr. Paul Jennings, who wrote one of the first published book by freed slave, A Colored man’s Reminiscences of James Madison.

And of course with the abundance of food, friends, love and family we emerged into 2016 healthy and happy with resolutions, dreams, fears and hopes. Stay tuned!