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
When Death Comes