23 Jun
Posted in: Poems
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It’s All Amazing

A very good friend of mine sent me this newsletter (thanks, Honig) from the Yong Kang Chinese Medicine Clinic, which is located in Kirkwood (which is amazing, when you think of it….that a Chinese medicine clinic would be in Kirkwood….I mean, how much more mainstream can you get!).

The newsletter was written by my friend’s acupuncturist, Michael Max, who is taking a three-to-four month sabbatical at Upaya Zen Center. His article, Slowly, Slowing Arrive, would definitely be worth re-posting here. But instead, I’ll post the poem he quotes by Mary Oliver, in its entirety, since the newsletter included an excerpt.

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 is 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 thing 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. 

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