The cliche that as you grow older you discover you have more questions than answers is just that - a cliche. I'm not sure how many of us are ever so deep core sure of the answers in the same way we feel the poignancy, pain, excitement or apprehension on hearing, sensing, being addressed by, the questions that matter most.
Anyway, for myself the question has always been one of the grace gifts of God. It's the question that creates the possibility of growth, is likely to initiate change, is a first step in a new direction, an invitation to movement rather than stuckness, an opportunity to be different and perhaps, to make a difference. One of the many gift graces in Denise Levetov's poetry is her patience with questions and her impatience with answers. It is seen in her instinct for the transformative imperative of the interrogative mood, and her tireless vigilance to ensure that proffered answers could stand the scrutiny of integrity, humanity, justice and compassion. I could relinquish many other poets, and their disappearance would leave me the poorer.
For those who want to learn to look at the world, and look within, and look above and beyond, Levertov's ouevre is not in the category of the important, but the indispensable. Her voice is an essential accompaniment on my own search for questions that do justice to the most intractable issues the human community faces today. Here is one of her poems, pointing to a via negativa, not of theology, but of how we cherish, hold and pay gentle attention to the mystery and miracle of being here. The title uses the indefinite article - this is not once for all gift, it is gift in the present continuous. The "Yes, perhaps is neither question nor answer, but an affirmation of that wonderful place in between, in which as human beings we live, and move, and have our being.
Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
this gift is your answer.