When Death Comes

Photo by Tommy Kwak on Unsplash

I find poetry fascinating in that it can convey ideas and thoughts into words that share the image, the mind’s impression, more accurately than just words shared in other ways. This is one by Mary Oliver whose sentiments resonated with me. I came across it in Tim Ferriss‘ Friday newsletter last week . Not the first time that I have found inspiration in his newsletters, thanks again Tim.

It is a subject that I occasionally have on my mind given I have another birthday coming up in about a week. I won’t say which one but my eldest son is having his 50th birthday this December so I am not, as they say, a spring chicken. Edging even closer to the sunset. Our little dog, Miss Daisy, who I have written about before, is also winding down day by day it seems but her spirit still shines on regardless. The heartbeat at my feet.

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 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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