Oh Ms. Mary Oliver

April 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

As I write this post, thunder is roaring loudly orchestrating lightning scenes in anticipation of rain and Sufjan sings chorus lines that align with the depth of my heart to be alone with the one who went up on a tree. The lit candles only add to the already appropriate setting to share about one of my favorite poets – Mary Oliver. She has this beautiful way of arranging words to create images that blend nature and the deep sorrows and joys of being human. One of my favorite poems of Mary Oliver is below.

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.

When I first heard this poem, I immediately copied the poem in three different places so that I could memorize it. I have yet to memorize the entire poem, but the last line stayed with me. It’s a line that dwells within me, stirring me.

As I conclude my post, the pounding of hail and now pouring rain echos in the old walls of my apartment and lightening continues to ignite the sky with Sufjan exclaiming the ultimate victory told in the Good Book.


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