E.U.P. February 27, 1995 — March 24, 2005.
[I posted the photograph above and the poem below for the past two years on this date. Most of the explanatory text below, last year too.
Muted backstory about my nephew here (I provided an anchor link to the relevant part, but it seems to not be working).
I continue to find it near impossible to write here in public about my nephew, the flesh and blood boy, much less about his illness and death. Though I will mark this day this way. Slightly more possible has been my attempt to describe the mark his joie de vivre, coupled with his illness and death, has left on my parenthood. About which, some here, and here.
At some level this whole blog is a paean to him insofar as it is an extended sign of my attempt to live my life and my parenthood with eyes and heart as wide open as possible, and to grab as many people by the lapels as I can, and urge them to do the same. For this enduring parting gift, my gratitude to him continues to be oceanic.]
“When Death Comes”
by Mary Oliver
from New and Selected Poems
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.