When Death Comes” When I first saw the title “When death comes” I expected a poem filled with saddening reminders of how short life can be. Ata second glimpse I realized that this was not the case in fact quite the opposite seems to be true. Through her poem Mary Oliver opens deep questions on death and the mystery that surrounds it. It is oddly inspiring that Mary Oliver was able to use these questions on death to capture such an optimistic outlook and inspiring way of life in her poem.

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Although the poem starts with grim words referencing death and how prompt it can arrive. It transforms more into a motto for life that I myself find quite inspiring. Mary Oliver “When Death Comes” directly and successfully conveys a modest message through complex means; that message is that no one can sure what death has in store for us. So live your life to the fullest, appreciate your life as well as the world around you. In the beginning of the poem Mary Oliver describes the eerie feeling sense of death and how it can creep toward you at any time.

The first lines read “When death comes/like a hungry bear In autumn/when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse/to buy me, and snaps the purse shuts”. Here Mary Oliver sends the message that life can leave you in an instant. That it can disappear as fast as it appeared and can come when least expected It. She continues her poem with ‘When death comes like measle-pox/when death comes/like an iceberg between the shoulder blades”. This describes death as being cruel, random, and unbiased.

It tells the story that often death is grotesque and sudden as suggested when compared with measle pox. It also hints that death can be painful or abrupt as proposed by the line “iceberg between the shoulders”. Mary Oliver seems to think of death simply as a random iller. often choosing Its victims in no particular fashion. The first lines In Mary Oliver’s poem are dedicated to the description ofdeath, its attributes, and the fear that ensues. The next lines in the poem open up a vast question; what happens when you die?

Page 2 When death comes Essay

The poem says “l want to step through the door full of curiosity. wondering:/what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? ” MaryOliver seems to be saying that she wants to step into death fully content and gratified with the life she has held. It hints at a certain wonderment she has of what comes after death, eaven and hell, or reincarnation, or nothing at all. After reading this I considered if Mary Oliver was religious herself. I myself believe she herself is simply an admirer of life and fascinated by Its mysteries.

We see that in many of her works she writes of the natural world and its many mysteries. It is this fascination of mystery that I believe to play such a vital role in her many poems. In an interview with Maria Shiver for O Magazine we get a glimpse of Mary Oliver’s views on the subject. Mary Oliver: “l have written that God has so many names. To me it’s alright if you look at a tree, as he Hindus do, and say the tree has a spirit. It’s a mystery, and mysteries dont compromise themselves”we’re never going to know. I think about the spiritual a great deal.

I like to think of myself as a praise poet. ” Maria Shriver: “What does that mean exactly” Mary Oliver: “That I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by interview as well as other poems by Mary Oliver tell me that Mary Oliver is indeed a huge admirer of the mystery of life. It is this wonderment of mystery that shines through this stanza in her poem that tells us that death is simply a mystery. “What is t going to be like, that cottage of darkness? ” From this point on the poem expresses that life should be lived and not merely endured.

It tells us not to live day to day but to enjoy life and explore the world that surrounds us. Mary Oliver begins with “l 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’. When brotherhood and sisterhood are mentioned I can only assume this to mean that all life is connected in sense that we all share the same environment and live in the same world. It seems that the poem is suggesting that lthough no one life should be greater than the next, we are all in this together.

When she speaks of time as an idea and eternity as another possibility I feel as though she is again referencing the mystery of death. She tells us that in death anything is possible, there is simply no way of knowing what happens when you die and therefore anything is possible. Mary Oliver continues with saying that she looks upon “each name a comfortable music in the mouth/tending, as all music does, towards silence. ” Hinting to me that all life has potential to be fun and pleasant and that all life eventually has its conclusion.

She continues with “and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth. ” I believe this to mean each and every life has the ability to do wonderful things and the ability for boundless influence in our world. It also tells us that every life is a precious commodity, one that is unique from any of its counterparts and should be treasured. Something that cant be duplicated and therefore shouldn’t be taken for granted. The final lines of the poem are my personal favorites and to me have the most significance. They express a universal feeling that many of us share and likely think about from time to time.

It reads “When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if I had made of my life something particular, and real/’ don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument/’ don’t want to end up simply having visited this world. ” I believe this really speaks toa main point in the poem. That we should enjoy our lives and to follow the dreams we have. These lines tell us to avoid simply surviving day by day and to spend more time appreciating what you have and to explore and experience the life around you. To fix your relationships with other people and to leave no problem unsolved.

In life it seems many people stray from a basic appreciation of life, distracted with work, school, or other social obligations. I do not believe Mary Oliver is saying that this should not happen, as it is simply a part of life. I believe instead that the point she conveys through “When death comes” is that we should all stop and smell the roses once in a while so that when death approaches we can truly say that we didn’t end up “simply having visited this world”. Work Cited Oliver, Mary. Interview by Maria Shriver. “Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver” www. oprah. com O Magazine, Mar 09. 2011. Web. 15 Mar.

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