Denise Levertov knows well how to describe the thousand distractions that separate us from God. In “Primary Wonder” she imagines them as courtiers and jesters, jostling for her attention in a crowded antechamber.
And then she is overwhelmed by the wonder of God’s “quiet mystery,” at which point “the throng’s clamor recedes.” It’s amazing enough, she says, that we aren’t confronted by a void when we examine our lives. On top of that, there is “cosmos, joy, memory, everything.” And there is also You, God, keeping it all going.
By Denise Levertov
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.