Well That’s That

Daisy (PhotoElxanQəniyev, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Dear Readers, considering how long I’ve been banging on about retiring, the intensity of the emotion of the past few days has taken me by surprise. Although I am really ready for this next phase of my life, there is also loss, most especially of the many wonderful people that I’ve worked with. But then I remind myself that I have good friends from more or less every workplace that I’ve ever left, and that brightens me up no end.

During one of the farewells yesterday, someone reminded me of the poem below. We had an informal poetry club going on, and I shared this as one of my favourites. I was so moved when one of my colleagues showed me that she’d printed it out and sellotaped it to her wall. Isn’t sharing what’s important to us vital to friendship? And here it is. I actually think it’s Mary Oliver’s best, and it always reminds me of what, for me, it’s all about.

I, also, don’t want to be just a visitor to this world.

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

Mary Oliver
When Death Comes

6 thoughts on “Well That’s That

  1. Anne

    By coincidence I have come across this poem twice in two days! I wish you great fulfillment in your retirement – I have seldom been happier and I hope you will enjoy the time to explore your many interests.

  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    I think your sentence “Isn’t sharing what’s important to us vital to friendship?” is an excellent description of what blogging is all about. I’m sure you will easily adjust to retirement and soon wonder how you found time to work. I wish you a long and happy retirement. 😊👍

  3. sllgatsby

    I do so love Mary Oliver! This is one of my favorites of hers as well.

    While this is a very different poem, I like that they are both about loving and fully inhabiting the world.

    by Ann Iverson

    Even near the very end
    the frail cat of many years
    came to sit with me
    among the glitter of bulb and glow
    tried to the very last to drink water
    and love her small world
    would not give up on her curious self.
    And though she staggered — shriveled and weak
    still she poked her nose through ribbon and wrap
    and her peace and her sweetness were of such
    that when I held my ear to her heart
    I could hear the sea.

    –from Mouth of Summer.


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