When Death Comes

By 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.