February 8, 2009

When Death Comes

A poem by Mary Oliver

When Death ComesĀ 

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

To buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
When death comes
Like the measles-pox;

When death comes
Like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
What is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 8, 2009 9:08 AM | Permalink