Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
I who don’t know the
the line. They
(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,
and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,
assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
most of all.
~Denise Levertov “The Secret”
The secret of seeing is, then the pearl of great price.
If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever
I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all.
But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought.
The literature of illumination reveals this above all:
although it comes to those who wait for it,
it is always, even to the most practiced and adept,
a gift and a total surprise.
I return from one walk
knowing where the killdeer nests in the field by the creek and the hour the laurel blooms.
I return from the same walk a day later scarcely knowing my own name.
Litanies hum in my ears;
my tongue flaps in my mouth.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?
For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest;
nor is anything secret except to come to light…
Mark 4: 21-22
We all want to know it: learning the elusive secret that would resolve the mystery of our existence. Why are we here at all and for what purpose do we live and breathe?
Some are untroubled by not knowing. They live out each day one step at a time, not looking back and not too worried about what is coming up around the bend while others are always looking for meaning, evaluating the significance of each moment.
Some of us seek middle ground. I am eager to have life’s mysteries cleared up, but content to give the unknown the time it demands. Each day I search for something that asks for my complete attention, whether a line of poetry or a slant of light in the sky, or my grandchild’s arms around my neck. That is enough for me to settle in with gratitude for simply being here. And it feels right to share what I see and read and hear and experience.
So here is one person’s secret of life: don’t give up the search and share what you find along the way…
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