Posted by Michael Finkelstein | February 4th, 2019
When Death Comes – A Tribute to Mary Oliver
Each month, in this “MoonLetter,” I try to capture a concept and distribute it along with some of my own thoughts and reflection. I truly hope they are of some benefit. Indeed, I sincerely care about its meaning and value, and spend some time with it, in preparation. This is a creative process, one that is also good for my soul as it is an expression of my personal interest and investment in helping others. I try especially, to be original, so that what you read might bring something new to light.
This month, however, I am choosing to depart from this plan and simply publish a poem by a person who in her own way has captured moments with incredible mastery; who has been an inspiration to me to do the same ever since. Her passing in the past lunar cycle makes this an attempt at a suitable tribute, and I hope to support the legacy of her lifelong learning and expression of wisdom, so we may all, individually and collectively, reach a place of splendor in the fulfillment of our life’s plan. Here’s to you Mary Oliver:
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.