MO ( / )

A Visitor

My father, for example,
who was young once
and blue-eyed,
returns
on the darkest of nights
to the porch and knocks
wildly at the door,
and if I answer
I must be prepared
for his waxy face,
for his lower lip
swollen with bitterness.
And so, for a long time,
I did not answer,
but slept fitfully
between his hours of rapping.
But finally there came the night
when I rose out of my sheets
and stumbled down the hall.
The door fell open

and I knew I was saved
and could bear him,
pathetic and hollow,
with even the least of his dreams
frozen inside him,
and the meanness gone.
And I greeted him and asked him
into the house,
and lit the lamp,
and looked into his blank eyes
in which at last
I saw what a child must love,
I saw what love might have done
had we loved in time.

by Mary Oliver

Comments (4)

I connect with this piece. In the end, the greatest legacy one could leave behind, is good memories. No amount of anything could ever substitute good memories. If we always remember our mortality, we will remain humble, if we forget it, we will remain stupid.
Very disturbing and powerful, touching. thank you
Beautiful! had we loved in time
This is beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes. My father recently died, and I wish I had loved more, 'in time'.