• coachsarah


Updated: Feb 13, 2020

The Morning Mantra is available on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube and pretty much anywhere podcasts can be found. Transcripts forthcoming on the blog at www.coachedandloved.com

"Fra-GEEEEEE-lay! Must be Italian!"

"No, I think it says, 'fragile'."

"Oh. Yeah."

Hi! This is Coach Sarah, and this is the Morning Mantra!

*cue intro music*

Hi, my name is Sarah Axelrod. I'm a run coach and a lover of poetry, and I’m here to put the fun back in profundity. You don't have to be an athlete to be #coachedandloved, and if you need an anchor to hold onto as you move through a tough situation, you've come to the right place.

*music ends*

benvenuti, stregheria italiana, lessons in Italian shade

Today’s mantra is “Ahahahahahahah!”

I love how much people love things. I love how much my daughter loves Frozen, her giddy excitement over her Frozen underwear, Frozen socks, Frozen sticker book. I love how much my husband loves the Great British Bake-Off, to the point where watching him watch it is entertainment enough for me in and of itself. And I love how much the dad in A Christmas Story loves his lamp, which he won in a radio call-in contest (I also love how much his wife detests the lamp - my favorite running joke in the entire movie and extremely relatable).

He is giddy with excitement when the crate is brought into his house. And when he sees the word “Fragile” on the crate, he can’t restrain himself as he reads out loud, “fra-GIII-LE!” Must be Italian! He looks at that word and what he sees is a totally different word, a word whose meaning is as yet unknown to him. And when you’re so intrigued by the mystery of something that you already know will be absolutely wonderful, why NOT choose to interpret a perfectly ordinary word as something totally new and magical, a collection of sounds whose Italianness promises elegance and style, all still shrouded in mystery.

This part of A Christmas Story reminds me of an incredible poem written in the early 20th century by Aldo Palazzeschi, called “E lasciatemi divertire,” roughly translated as “let me have some fun.” The poem (read by Piera degli Esposti in a very famous rendition here) is about as silly and seemingly unrefined as it gets, something to pay attention to in an age of much more somber poetry overall. It starts out like this:

Tri tri tri,

fru fru fru,

ihu ihu ihu,

uhi uhi uhi!

Il poeta si diverte,



Non lo state a insolentire,

lasciatelo divertire


queste piccole corbellerie

sono il suo diletto.

The poet is having fun! Crazily! Uncontrolledly! Don’t give him a hard time, let him have fun, poor guy, these little nonsenses are his delight.

And, the poem continues do you want to know what? These sounds are not thoughtless, tossed off nothings! These are the discards - the trash - of other poems.

Certo è un azzardo un po' forte,

scrivere delle cose così,

che ci son professori oggidì

a tutte le porte.


And what’s more, Palazzeschi says, you ought to admire this poet for his willingness to be so open about his silliness and the little sounds that he likes; “che ci son professori oggidì/a tutte le porte.” Professors are everywhere - people who want to explain the world to you and tell you that the thing you love is silly or nonsense or meaningless or why do you take that thing so seriously? No wonder he followed it up with two lines of a hearty Ahahahahahahah!

I would rather love something the way Aldo Palazzeschi’s poet (i.e. Aldo Palazzeschi) loves his little sounds than be the professor who hovers on the side saying “well actually” (and don’t get me wrong, I was one of them for a long time, but boy was it more fun to love something than to constantly try and be above it). I would rather be the dad in A Christmas Story loving the lamp - FRAGEEE-LAY - than his wife looking at him and rolling her eyes (even though my brain desperately wants to side with her). Give me the leavings of the other poems - I am here to put the fun back in profundity.

So, the mantra. If any wannabe professors want to get in the way of YOUR joy or tell you that you are DOING IT WRONG and WELL ACTUALLY, you now have a response:


And when they look at you funny, you can tell them that it’s an Italian poem of the neo-avant-garde (or the neoavanguardia if you wanna be FRAGEEELAY-like fancy). And that leaves you with an opening for a subject change.

*cue outro music*

You are Coached. You are Loooved, and you ARE winning at life. And if you need MOAR reasons to believe that, follow @morningmantrapod on Instagram and subscribe to the Coached and Loved weekly newsletter!

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