A Bitterness

I believe you did not have a happy life.
I believe you were cheated.
I believe your best friends were loneliness and misery.
I believe your busiest enemies were anger and depression.
I believe joy was a game you could never play without stumbling.
I believe comfort, though you craved it, was forever a stranger.
I believe music had to be melancholy or not at all.
I believe no trinket, no precious metal, shone so bright as your bitterness.
I believe you lay down at last in your coffin none the wiser and unassuaged.
Oh, cold and dreamless under the wild, amoral, reckless, peaceful flowers of the hillside.

-Mary Oliver
from New and Selected Poems, Vol 1

A friend turned me on to Mary Oliver recently, and in fact back on to poetry in general. Much of what she writes is pretty but doesn’t really touch me just now, but then something like this floats across the page and I am struck down for a while, trying to take it in.