Jan 12 – Gerry Stockhausen, “a lion of courage”

Thursday,  January 12   –
“I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,”


“Stock”   –  August 27, 1949 – January 12, 2016

Someone, last January, introduced me to today’s  Mary Oliver poem, “When Death Comes.”   Her language engaged the shock of his dying, when many of Stock’s soul friends had been confident that he was growing through his bone marrow transplant back into the trim and vital man we knew.   Within our shock there also lived the intimate grace of Stock’s way of living;  Mary Oliver’s words gets that too.   I find graceful remembering and tender affection more accessible this one year since the shock hit in January 2016.    Mary Oliver’s expression “each body a lion of courage” helps me find my way to Gerry today.   That, and the poem’s last line ‘’I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”  Stock,  I miss your face, and your voice, your eyes, your puns; you were not a visitor in this world, you were a presence.

Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.   Have a blest day.



john sj

Today’s Post  –  “When Death Comes”

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 measle-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’s 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.

Mary Oliver   New and Selected Poems, Vol.1

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