Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Married to amazement

It's been a while since I've brought you a Mary Oliver poem and I don't think I've blogged this one before. Oliver understands contemplation like no other:

When Death Comes

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 his 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 a 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.


  1. Anonymous4:08 PM

    Oh, thank you, thank you. A friend died this fall, way too young. I hadn't seen him in some time. He had withdrawn from everyone and I'm not sure why. This poem was read at his memorial service and I've been looking for it ever since. It is so beautiful.
    Thanks again.

  2. Hello, Anonymous. I'm so very glad that I posted the poem and that you found it. That's called serendipity.

    You have my deepest condolences on the loss of your friend. I'm so very sorry. May you be comforted.

  3. Idle cruising brought me to your blog, and to that amazing poem. I love it, must look up this author.

    Thank you!

  4. I like this poem. It is strong and a reminder to think a little about our common destiny - death. I think dying might be a good experience, at least if we prepare ourselves for it. Even more important is making the most out of living. :-)

  5. Thanks, Ien. I hope you come back some time. (Yes, Mary Oliver is amazing.)

    And I agree with you, Miss Attica. Thanks for the comment.

  6. I love this poem. Thank you.


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