Mary Oliver: ‘A Bride Married To Amazement’

Ms. M took this poem to a memorial service for a friend in Oakville. When you need to hear affirmation, count on Mary Oliver.

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 measles-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 is 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.

From New and Selected Poems

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2 Responses to Mary Oliver: ‘A Bride Married To Amazement’

  1. Ms Modigliani says:

    Mayuko’s husband Derrick said that this poem illuminated Mayuko’s positive approach to life.

    She was a stunning, vibrant, curious woman with many interests and passions. She leaves a huge hole in her loved ones hearts.

  2. Derrick says:

    Thank you for this. The last line make me cry every time. She was particular and real. And she never showed that she was either sighing or frightened even at the end. And there is no way she was a visitor. Her service showed that. She lived her life and commented that her only regret was that it ended too soon. If I can say that at the end of my life, I too will be happy.


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