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Mary Oliver's Wise Words

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 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.