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poetry . Married to Amazement

I was reading again on the blog you didn’t know I was reading.  The one that inspired me here and here.  The one I’ve written a post about — complimenting it, explaining my enjoyment of it, paying attention to its point of view.  Ok. I’ve written it in my HEAD and hope to soon commit it to keyboard and hit “publish.”

Yesterday she posted a remarkable poetic tribute to the nephew she lost to cancer four years ago. And, I found myself in that place.  That horrible place of dual gratitude: Thank You for my life and let me live it completely.  And… thank You that it was them and not me saying goodbye.

It’s hard to resolve in my spirit, but her subsequent pledge to “live my life and my parenthood with my eyes and heart as wide open as possible” so echos my own desire to soak up every second of this day with those that have made my life so rich, that I wanted to reprint the poem here.  “So teach us to number our days, so that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (psalm 90:12)

“When Death Comes”
by Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems

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 measles-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 is 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.


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