Monday, April 18, 2022

The Wedding

As mentioned in the last post, the weekend retreat with poet David Whyte was so rich with thought and insight that there isn’t time to easily condense and summarize. So I’ll rest content with a derivative poem (in his style) I handwrote in my journal, prompted by him walking down the center aisle of a beautiful wooden chapel designed by the remarkable Julia Morgan in Asilomar on the Monterey Coast. He was walking to the podium to begin his recitation and reading of poetry (mostly his) and his commentary on it. That was the spark for this first-draft poem by me:


He walks down the center aisle like a groom going to meet his beloved,

the congregation on each side of the aisle hushed 

in anticipation of the mixed joy and gravity of the event. 

He takes her hand and says the first words that open the vows,

Betrothed to the music of the tongue

Given freely to those gathered to witness.


This wooden chapel like a wedding tent in the Sahara, those gathered 

as if drinking from the stream in an oasis after

Two lonely years in the desert. 

The words cleansing their bodies and slaking their thirsts.


And here we all are, as the lovers at the altar, the one visible, the other unseen, 

Begin to speak out loud their love, a love they can only dimly imagine, wholly innocent

Of all the ways it will change and grow and disappear, both hold up and break their hearts.


We who know more dare to reach through the brambled bushes 

grown over our own long-ago vows, half-forgotten or discarded, 

but still possible to remember.

We reach through the thorns,

oblivious of the scratches, to pluck out the hidden golden ring

 and hold it up to the light for all to see. 

To place it on the finger of our beloved, to re-make our vows.

Never mind that they will again be forgotten or refused or changed beyond recognition.

Now they are once-again tangible, real, sincere, wholly ours. 

Here and now, for all to see and witness and blessed by the man who is at once 

the poet-priest, the bride and the groom.

We seal our renewed promises with the wedding kiss and walk joyously out

Down the center aisle to the cheering of the crowds and the showers of rice

To begin our life again.

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