Denise Levertov’s Primary Wonder is being present to the quiet mystery that sustains us

This beautiful profound little poem, Primary Wonder, by Denise Levertov (1923–1997), reminds us what is important when we get overshadowed by life’s little problems. When she became present to the mystery, experienced that joyful cosmic stillness within, she realized her life, and all of creation was sustained by the Creator. Life’s problems receded, became insignificant when presented with such primary wonder.

Primary Wonder

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.

…………………………………………….And then
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.

The Upanishads say a similar thing for those who are awake or self-referral: Brahma bhavati sarathi: Brahman is the charioteer, all actions are conducted for you by the laws of nature. And another quote says: From bliss all these beings are born, in bliss they are sustained, and to bliss they go and merge again. (Taittiriya Upanishad 3.6.1)

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One Response to “Denise Levertov’s Primary Wonder is being present to the quiet mystery that sustains us”

  1. deborahbrasket Says:

    A beautiful poem, and timeless reminder. Thanks for sharing, Ken.

    Like

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