Wednesday, September 28, 2005

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 mease-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?

I want to step though 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 as another possiblity,

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.

Mary Oliver

This poem was found in our class book, Contemporary American Poetry, and I found it after perusing the book for some time. While reading, I was surprised by the tone of the poem. The title, When Death Comes, inspired images of death, darkness, and depression in my mind. It was pleasing to realize that by the end of my reading, the author was actually writing about making an impact on this earth before we leave it. Instead of being a grim reading, the poem left me yearning to lead an admirable life that would be remembered for years to come. I know that we have discussed cliches in class already, and I do not mean to be when I say that the title of the poem had me shuddering and worried that I would end up sadder for having read the poem. I am now happier and glad for having read the poem.
I also liked the similes that were used in the poem. I enjoy reading when I can close my eyes and vividly see the words on the pages come alive through my own images and pictures. Death is likened to the, "hungry bear in autumn," and as such shows me a view of death which is not so morose. Through the poem I saw death as something that comes and takes at random just like a bear will take down its prey with no preinclination. Thinking of death like that helps partially understand, the question of, "Why did that person have to die." It is not because of any specifc reason, but just like the bear it takes whatever it is within its grasp. The last of the line strikes me intensely, "I don't want to end up simply having visited this world." Hopefully with some effort, my life will not end in any questions of being simply a visit.


Blogger Lilan said...

wow, I really liked the poem you chose and what you had to say about it. It's really great that this poem inspired you and brought out good feelings from reading it. I like how you say you went into it expecting something completely different and then realized that the poem was evoking very different things from you than what the title suggested.

4:06 PM  

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