copying out a poem in the kitchen while making mac and cheese
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
slong 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 the cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
* * *
This is my Poetry Wednesday post today, and the title offers something of an explanation for why it is going to be short and random. I don’t make boxed mac and cheese for the girls’ dinner very often, but when I do, I throw some frozen peas in there, and mix the sauce with plain yogurt to make myself feel better.
I have little to share today. Or maybe a more honest statement would be that I do not feel like sharing most anything today. But there is one thing that was nice today, and would be nice to share. My husband read a piece of my writing out loud to his class today. When he told me this morning that he had decided to include it in his lecture, I did not honestly think much about it, but then the more I thought about it, the more I felt really honored that he chose to do this, on several levels. First, I know that he was not doing it in a patronizing way, but because he genuinely has a high regard for my writing and thought that this particular piece of writing would contribute something specific that he wanted to include in his lecture today. I know he has a high regard for my writing anyway and did not really need him to do something like this to prove it to me, but somehow the act of him doing this inspired me to take a moment and appreciate the fact that I am married to someone who has a high regard for my writing. I also know that even though much of our married life has seen him at the forefront in terms of career advancement, I know good and well that he would not stand in the way of anything that I wanted to pursue, and in fact would support me. So, that’s certainly a nice golden token to have in my back pocket, in reserve for the day that I get the courage, or gumption, or school-age children, or confidence, or the right place at the right time, or fire under my arse– or whatever it is that needs to come to pass– for me to finally get on the conveyer belt of a grander pursuit (God willing). But I will say that the prospect of going back to school after being out of it for over a decade feels very abstract and intimidating to me. I know that I need to take small steps toward fleshing out a more realistic picture of what I am really looking into here. Today I emailed with a faculty member at a university in St. Louis. The nature of our correspondence was discouraging and already felt like a dead end to me (she declined to meet with me in person). Step One: check.
That’s all for now. Today does not seem like the right day for talking about grand pursuits out loud too much. The girls had mac and cheese for dinner and are now rearranging the living room into something like a pretend school bus, involving lots of chairs, dolls, and stuffed animals. I am content with where my life is right now. I think I’m getting more oriented and efficient at my job. I am making progress, moving forward, in that magical mystical toury kind of way.