One Good Poem By Ms Levertov and Some Random Thoughts on Ambition
To save you time, I am offering the best part first–a fine poem by a favorite poet: Denise Levertov. It’s from her collection The Stream and the Sapphire. And it captures well a part of the human experience, including my own–and perhaps yours (which is all we can ask a poem to do). This will be followed by some random reflections of doubtful interest regarding my own life as a writer/blogger.
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; caps 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.
. . . . .
Now a bit on me, which probably does not apply to you:
I am not a faithful blogger. It’s not that I lack an adequate supply of thoughts and opinions. In fact I’m overflowing with both. It’s more that I have an ambition deficit, which sometimes looks like laziness. I actually work quite hard, including on my writing, but I have a low “getting it out there” drive. A strange thing to say for a fellow who has published a small fistful of books, perhaps.
I think it’s linked to an impression I’ve had from adolescence that life is amazingly brief and that much of it is taken up with wood, hay, and stubble. Even valuable accomplishments fade faster than the flowers (as the OT confirms). That baseline sense of things (which I do not promote or recommend) does not encourage the thought that “hey, I think I better get a blog post out there—quick. The world is waiting.”
None of this depresses or discourages me. (I’m not at all Eyore-ish.) I’m just fine with it and know there are excellent arguments for a more energetic outlook. I just don’t find them compelling at the moment.
How does this relate to Denise’s fine poem? I think the first half of the poem underlies the feeling I’ve tried to describe. And the second half tells me that there is a “mystery” that overrides all else and is worthy of a life-time (and eternity) of exploring.