Saturday, September 29, 2012

Poem for Shelby's Wedding V: Found Letter

Although I fill my life with poetry everyday, I think it's something we especially turn to at times of celebration and times of need.  My best friend, Shelby, got married this Friday, and because I love her as much as I love poetry, I decided to spend this week posting poems that I hoped would help prepare her for her wedding and for married life afterward.  This final poem, "Found Letter" by Joshua Weiner, is the one of my favorites, and the one I read at their wedding yesterday as a toast.  It just about covers everything that I wish for Shelby and Mike, both as individuals and as a couple.  So, Shelby and Mike, I hope you've enjoyed this series in your honor, and that you have a wonderful honeymoon in Jamaica tomorrow.  Congratulations!



Found Letter (Joshua Weiner)

What makes for a happier life, Josh, comes to this:   
Gifts freely given, that you never earned;   
Open affection with your wife and kids;   
Clear pipes in winter, in summer screens that fit;   
Few days in court, with little consequence;   
A quiet mind, a strong body, short hours   
In the office; close friends who speak the truth;   
Good food, cooked simply; a memory that’s rich   
Enough to build the future with; a bed   
In which to love, read, dream, and re-imagine love;   
A warm, dry field for laying down in sleep,   
And sleep to trim the long night coming;   
Knowledge of who you are, the wish to be   
None other; freedom to forget the time;   
To know the soul exceeds where it’s confined   
Yet does not seek the terms of its release,   
Like a child’s kite catching at the wind   
That flies because the hand holds tight the line.
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Poem for Shelby's Wedding IV: A Blessing for Wedding

Although I fill my life with poetry everyday, I think it's something we especially turn to at times of celebration and times of need.  My best friend, Shelby, is getting married this Friday, and because I love her as much as I love poetry, I've decided to spend this week posting poems that I hope will help prepare her for her wedding and for married life afterward.  This fourth poem, "A Blessing for  Wedding" by Jane Hirshfield, combines exquisite images of the natural world with the hope we have for every couple on their wedding day, and every day after.


A Blessing for Wedding (Jane Hirshfield)

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
     or someone you never met has died
Today when someone you love has been born
     or someone you will not meet has been born
Today when rain leaps to the waiting of roots in their dryness
Today when starlight bends to the roofs of the hungry and tired
Today when someone sits long inside his last sorrow
Today when someone steps into the heat of her first embrace
Today, let this light bless you
With these friends let it bless you
With snow-scent and lavender bless you
Let the vow of this day keep itself wildly and wholly
Spoken and silent, surprise you inside your ears
Sleeping and waking, unfold itself inside your eyes
Let its fierceness and tenderness hold you
Let its vastness be undisguised in all your days

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Poem for Shelby's Wedding III: Marriage

Although I fill my life with poetry everyday, I think it's something we especially turn to at times of celebration and times of need.  My best friend, Shelby, is getting married this Friday, and because I love her as much as I love poetry, I've decided to spend this week posting poems that I hope will help prepare her for her wedding and for married life afterward.  This third poem, "Marriage," by Lawrence Raab, reminds me that the tiniest moments can change the course of our lives.  I know that shortly after Mike proposed, Shelby started to worry about what changes her life would make after they married, and I think the last four stanzas of this poem perfectly capture those anxieties, and also the deep joy and calm that she's feeling about their marriage now.

 
Marriage (Lawrence Raab)

Years later they find themselves talking   
about chances, moments when their lives   
might have swerved off
for the smallest reason.
                                     What if
I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?   
What if you’d been out,
as you were when I tried three times   
the night before?
                           Then she tells him a secret.   
She’d been there all evening, and she knew   
he was the one calling, which was why   
she hadn’t answered.
                               Because she felt—
because she was certain—her life would change   
if she picked up the phone, said hello,   
said, I was just thinking
of you.
            I was afraid,
she tells him. And in the morning   
I also knew it was you, but I just   
answered the phone
                            the way anyone
answers a phone when it starts to ring,   
not thinking you have a choice.
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poem for Shelby's Wedding II: Cave Dwellers

Although I fill my life with poetry everyday, I think it's something we especially turn to at times of celebration and times of need.  My best friend, Shelby, is getting married this Friday, and because I love her as much as I love poetry, I've decided to spend this week posting poems that I hope will help prepare her for her wedding and for married life afterward.  This poem, "Cave Dwellers," by A. Poulin Jr. is the second.  I hope it will remind her that love is one of our deepest, primordial instincts, something sacred because it is inherent to our nature and to our survival as humans.

 
Cave Dwellers (A. Poulin Jr.)

I’ve carved a cave in the mountainside.
I’ve drilled for water, stocked provisions
to last a lifetime. The walls are smooth.
We can live here, love, safe from elements.
We’ll invent another love that can’t destroy.
We’ll make exquisite reproductions of our
selves, immortal on these walls.

                                                 And when
this sea that can’t support us is burned clean,
when the first new creatures crawl from it,
gasping for water, air, more wondrous and more
wild than earth’s first couple, they shall see
there were two before them: you and me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Poem for Shelby's Wedding I: Mother of the Groom

Although I fill my life with poetry everyday, I think it's something we especially turn to at times of celebration and times of need.  My best friend, Shelby, is getting married this Friday, and because I love her as much as I love poetry, I've decided to spend this week posting poems that I hope will help prepare her for her wedding and for married life afterward.  This is the first of those, which I hope she'll share with her mother-in-law, Deb, and keep in mind one day when her own children are marrying.


Mother of the Groom (Seamus Heaney)

What she remembers
Is his glistening back
In the bath, his small boots
In the ring of boots at her feet.

Hands in her voided lap,
She hears a daugheter welcomed.
It’s as if he kicked when lifted
And slipped her soapy hold.

Once soap would ease off
The wedding ring
That’s bedded forever now
In her clapping hand.