Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sixth Annual Brigid Poetry Festival

There are the poems that you love, and then there are the poems that you write into your will. Here's one that I made the nice young lawyer from the white-shoe law firm write into mine:

When Death Comes

~Mary Oliver

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.

Picture found here.


Literata said...

What a great idea!

I personally have put together some music for my wake, and I think I'll pick out some poems, too. Other than that, I'd like to leave instructions that my wake be a time for people to tell the stories - good, bad, funny, stupid, the ones that make them cry and the ones that make them laugh. Tell them, listen to them, be together, remember me, and then remember that life goes on.

Anne Johnson said...

Beautiful poem. I have heard the Monkey Man read it. He loves Mary Oliver. A blessed Imbolc to you, my friend ... see you at Spoutwood?