In a fog, waiting

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 his 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 a 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 ~

(from New and Selected Poems, Volume 1)

4 thoughts on “In a fog, waiting

  1. “When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.

    Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

    Shawnee Chief Tecumseh

    Jazz, I think the way you have lived is a testament to your celebration of life. I don’t know you as well as I’d like to, but from what I know of you…. you’ve never believed in regrets. You have a lot to be proud of, and you inspire me.


  2. I was a bride married to amazement.

    Fuck. Yes.

    That phrase sums up so very well what I tried to say to my husband last night, as we hiked through the dark woods. He had just returned to me after spending a week with his dad who had just suffered another heart attack. To leave his dad and come back to me, he had to accept he might not see him again. Which is a crazy hard thing to do. As we walked, he made a joke and I squeezed his hand and snuggled closer, saying, “Oh, you make me laugh. I missed you.” He quietly replied that his sense of humor comes from his father. His dad has made a lot of bad choices, mostly regarding his health and well being, and, in saying this, my husband was trying to light a candle, to celebrate some of the good in his dad. Lucky for us both, that good has been passed through to my husband. He also acknowledged that his dad’s humor can sometimes be at the expense of others, be cutting and that he tries to temper that. We both talked about how it’s better to go through the world a little naive, to be wide eyed and joyous rather than cynical and deprecating. So much of the latter type of humor and stance is celebrated, being oh-too-cool for school. I’m guilty of it, too, both in being that way and in finding it funny in small doses. But mostly–and moreso now, when our emotions and fears are so raw–I’d rather make the faux pas of not being judgey from above or the sidelines. I’d rather be in the flush of it all, to be a bride to amazement.

    Forgive this long comment which really only seeks to continue to connect with you and let you know how much of your words and these things you share mean to me.

    • Angelique,
      You have such a gift for words, for storytelling and expressing the kernel of emotion that binds and connects us to each other and the life we create. Thank you for coming by, it comforts me immensely that you’re out there, living your wild life and thinking of me. It makes me miss the simplicity of Vox, where I could stroll by and catch your art 😉 Take a hike in the woods for me, will ya? Best wishes to your father-in-law and husband (and little bro). And you…keep on keepin’ on, making the world a brighter place 😉


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