My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive

mary-oliver-upstream

It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.

But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist. […]

It is six A.M., and I am working. I am absentminded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be. The tire goes flat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written. I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame. Neither do I have guilt. My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth. It does not extend to the lost button, or the beans in the pot. My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive. If I have a meeting with you at three o’clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Of Power and Time” in Upstream, Selected Essays (Penguin Press, October 2016)


Notes:

Comments

  1. “it needs rhe the whole sky to fly in…” Yes. It does.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Schönes Foto liebe Grüße und einen schönen Tag Gruß Gislinde

    Like

  3. If I have a meeting with you at three o’clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all. I love that! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yes, here’s to the inner vision.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Let us all rise above mustard and teeth! Love this David 💛

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “I have wrestled with the angel
    and I am stained with light
    and I have no shame.
    Neither do I have guilt. ”

    Love that. Love the whole thing.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. OMG…David, we are on the same wavelength. This morning’s reading from the book of Mary Oliver (Felicity) was this:

    I Wake Close to Morning

    Why do people keep asking to see
    God’s identity papers
    when the darkness opening into morning
    is more than enough?
    Certainly any god might turn away in disgust.
    Think of Sheba approaching
    the kingdom of Solomon.
    Do you think she had to ask,
    “is this the place?”
    ~~ Mary Oliver (Felicity, 2015)

    And my fave quote from your post? I, too, loved
    “I have wrestled with the angel
    and I am stained with light
    and I have no shame.
    Neither do I have guilt. ”

    Thank you for this and I cannot cannot wait for the publication of this new one.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. “My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely.”
    Finally.
    I embrace the self-permission, the okay-ness.
    My self-worth moves from the sitting slouch to standing tall.
    I see the light at the end of my self-made tunnel.
    Finally.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. oh, the inner vision–so, so hard to pin down…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mary Oliver’s words, forever resonate…”My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive.” I understand this…and yes the the interruptions come…”And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone.” I so understand how easily the thoughts become fleeting, evaporating, exiting back into the inner…and I understand and I sometimes drift back to a moment relieving the treasured beauty that is etched in my soul and I think that perhaps one day after glancing at a long ago photo or thinking of the special time, or just going over the magic of the daily ordinary I will find the words that are waiting to come and join the presence, honoring…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ah, in proof reading I error again should be reliving! not (relieving ) and looks like I am missing a comma..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes. a Whole Hearted amen to this! we owe our loyalty to our inner vision.
    we forget this, over and over again.
    thank you for sharing these lovely thoughts and words of Mary Oliver’s

    Like

  13. How the ordinary can be written so extraordinarily…to elevate creative effort to feel ‘stained with light’. She infuses my spirit as few can

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: