Sunday, February 8, 2009

When Death Comes

(Image is a self portrait by Arnold Böcklin (1827 - 1901), the 19th century artist from my brother's blog, Gurney Journey)

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 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

4 comments:

Delwyn said...

Another gem Dan. I am copying these treasures ans will put them in my collection. And I am going to share them with my friend.
How did you find Mary Oliver?

Delwyn said...

Oh and don't you think Arnold above looks like your brother?

Mr. Kinder said...

Arnold's got more hair.

Mr. Kinder said...

I've heard Mary Oliver poems read at various meetings and retreats over the years. She's pretty popular here in the US (at least in the circles I run in) and she's among my favorite poets.