Monday, December 06, 2010

December Brides

Bride Of The Wind
Bride of The Wind, Oskar Kokoschka, 1913/14

Seasonal Bridal Bouquet
Bridal Bouquet

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 --

My apologies for not answering comments lately. I'm afraid I'm not as faithful a blogger as I wish I were. Time slips through my fickle, mundane fingers much faster than I wish it would.


Ruth said...

Claudia, this is SO beautiful. The painting, "Bride of the Wind," which I've never seen. It's stupendous!

And your snow. What a photo.

And the MO poem, which strikes me especially deeply at the moment, because just about two hours ago I finished reading Zorba the Greek. I don't know if you've read it, but it ends with words very, very much like these.

Ahhh, such synchronicity for me.

And Zorba would say, "Don't apologize, Boss!"

João said...

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Obrigado, CJ, for saying it so much better.

Peter said...

Whether you believe in a life after ... or not, the words in this poem are so true, not always to live up to, or maybe rather: Have I even really tried?

Trulyfool said...


Mary Oliver is a strong poet, and I believe, possibly from my area, possibly living a life, if not reclusive, at least respected in its deliberate lack of celebrity.

Some of the images in this poem are utterly fine!

I guess we have to suppose that the wonder toward life is being continued in a wonder toward 'that cottage of darkness' (marvelous phrase!).

A logic question. Would we prefer, in the fifth strophe, rather than "and therefore", to have "but just now"?

That way the current verve in living gives credence to the interested hope of the next step.

And -- I know I'm presuming on M.O.'s excellence and your patience (sorry!) -- could we substitute for the last two strophes, just following the bridal image, a 'marital' crossing the threshold of that dark cottage?

Again, sorry! I've been in so many seminars and workshops this kind of comment is reflexive.


The Edge Columns said...

Gorgeous poem. Dropped in on your blog through a link to Nabokov. Caught your photos on Flickr; excellent!