New and Selected Poems

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn...

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what will it be like, that cottage of darkness?...

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement...
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 end up simply having visited this world.
~ Mary Oliver, excerpts from "When Death Comes" in NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, VOL. 1

I don't know exactly what a prayer is

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?

~ excerpt from Mary Oliver's The Summer Day
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