RIP Mary Oliver, with gratitude

When Death Comes–by Mary Oliver (Oct 03, 2006)

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 measle-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’s 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.

 –Mary Oliver


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