In the poem “When Death Comes,” Mary Oliver wrote:
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.
Today death came to Mary. May God have mercy and grant her rest! Her love and thankfulness for life and the world watered my own heart through the few poems by her I have known.
For me, it’s a blessedly rainy day, and I am re-posting in memory of her a poem about rain, and much more.
Lingering in Happiness
After rain after many days without rain,
It stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground
where it will disappear — but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.
Albert wrote a poem about a finch swooping into a red tree, and told a story in a very few lines. It was written so well that I had only read it two or three times before I knew certainly that it was my finch and my tree, that I saw with my own eyes… my own heart.
Read it on his site: THANKFUL
Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.
In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.
But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.
In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton died on June 14, 1936. This poem about the autumn of his life perhaps spanned several seasons in his consciousness before he died in springtime. I haven’t found out when it was written.
Pippin and I visited Chesterton’s humble grave when we were in England in 2005.