Tag Archives: poetry

Yes & yes

OMG, you guys. First of all, it is so hot today!

Clearly, this candy is good for you.

Serious. Grab yourself a spicy corn-flavored Tamboreta lollipop and a Miller Lite (okay maybe that’s just me).

Okay. Actually, this post is not about the current heatwave, and my taste in Mexican candy, but rather about the change of name in this blog. Rachel and Lindsey got married! Yaaay!! It was great.

Our waiting room was an arts classroom with some truly amazing tableaux setup for still-life study. We lined up outside the auditorium and listened to our friend Kat play guitar and sing. Listening to the singing and standing next to my dad behind Lindsey and her dad was the only time in the ceremony I almost cried.

Ike read “i thank you god for most this amazing” as the opening prayer. This poem is about the start of life and how life comes from a very mysterious origin. We shall call the origin God. Also, how the beginning of life is not a singular, biological event.

The First Reading in the Liturgy. David read from the Song of Solomon. This reading ends “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire” and speaks to love’s passionate awakening. The Song is a song for new lovers. (This reading also inspired our inscription inside our wedding bands.)

The Second Reading. Leah read a selection from the First Book of John, which begins “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” This passage creates a narrative out of the first reading: that love is not an emotion confined to poetry and passion. Love is an action, of work and deeds. (In a broader sense, this is the heart of what Christians mean to Witness.)

Our officiant, Frank Cordaro, read from the Gospel of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount (“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”). If the opening poem ecstatically welcomes a new life, and the readings trace love’s evolution from passion to partnership, then the Gospel offers no conclusion, but opens the narrative beyond the partnership being celebated, and accepts all of heaven and earth into the possibility. Those who commit themselves not only to one human being, but to mercy, justice, and peace, are those who truly come to know love.

Frank’s Homily was very sweet. Frank is a radical peace activist and “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” is a prayer very near to his heart. He spoke a bit of his own work, dedicating himself out of love and faith to a cause that routinely gets him imprisoned. But largely he spoke about us and how our positions, as women in a faith that doesn’t find women’s views very important and as gay people in a country that doesn’t find gay rights very important, offered us a privileged opportunity to realize the vision of Matthew. It was very Catholic. Very gay, feminist, liberal Catholic.

We stated out intentions, the assembled announced their support, Frank blessed our rings, we exchanged our vows, and slipped on each other’s rings. I take you to be my wife. I promise to love you wholly and completely, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in life and beyond. I will respect you as I respect myself. I will be true to you and honor you all the days of my life.

The last bit before we left went somewhat awry. My sister handed me a glass orb in a velvet bag for Lindsey and I to break. The breaking of the glass can have several meanings. The most traditional is that it serves to balance the joy of the event with a somber moment, as it recalls the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Additionally, the step taken to break the glass is like the step of marriage: once taken, it cannot be undone. As impossible as it is to repair broken glass, it is as impossible to undo the bonds of marriage. All this is very good, except that we couldn’t actually break it.

We stomped on it (just like we practiced), but it bounced away. Fredo, in a welcome moment of helpfulness, took off a shoe and handed it to me. Alas, even without heels on, it couldn’t break it on the carpeted floor. I called it a wrap and we kissed anyway. Anyhow, I gave Fredo his shoe back and we recessed in a somewhat orderly fashion. Mazel tov!

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Wooing

When you and your girl are both in college and super busy analyzing subaltern identity and what Mr Leopold Bloom had for lunch, there is a quick solution for your romancin’ needs: poetry.

Lindsey and I sent each other poems via email pretty frequently for the first couple years we were together. I even, in a very Perks of Being a Wallflower moment, once wrote some out and put them together into a small book with a drawing on the front. (I also once bought her a typewriter, come to think of it. Hmm, Charlie…)

We’ll have poems at the wedding. You can read them! Here’s one now, to tide you over:

Your Catfish Friend
Richard Brautigan

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, “It’s beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,”
I’d love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, “I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them.”

Golden rings

Just married.

Best part of wedding stuff? Buying ‘spensive things.

This week we bought our wedding rings. We bought them from Bario-Neal, a workshop in Philadelphia that uses reclaimed metals and responsibly-sourced stones. Ours are flat gold bands (Lindsey’s in rose gold, Rachel in yellow) that are hammered for a little texture.
I’m really happy with the ring we picked. I’m happy with the way they’re manufactured, and whose making them, and how they look, and how we picked them out together. In the million and two tiny steps it takes to plan a wedding, this was one decision that was easy and meaningful.

Inside they’re going to be engraved דודי (dodi) which is the old Hebrew word for “beloved”. (And the modern Hebrew word for “uncle”). We’re using it as shorthand for אני לדודי ודודי לי (ani l’dodi v’dodi li), which is from the Song of Solomon, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” and is a traditional motif in Jewish weddings. [Yes, dodi is a masculine noun. No, we’re not changing it, in fidelity to the text.]

The Song of Songs is also going to be the first reading (the first reading in the Liturgy; the first reading of the whole thing is going to be an e.e. cummings poem).

Hark! My lover– here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!”

O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.

My lover belongs to me and I to him; he browses among the lilies.

Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away. Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked.

Meet-cute

Lindsey and I threw a dinner party last week. It was lovely. Our friend Betsy’s son is getting married next year. On the exact same day as us, actually, which is weird. Anyway. Her future daughter-in-law is all about the Wedding Website. At the dinner party, Betsy requested that we start a Wedding Website. But we already have a getting married blog? No, no. She wants to see a Wedding Website, with photos and short bios and our meet-cute engagement story. Maybe later.

In the meantime: Lindsey and I met in college. Actually we met really early, in like the first week of college, because we were in the same Introduction to Poetry class. That’s kind of cute right? (Never mind that we didn’t really talk to each other much after the class until about two years later.) I think actually that we sat next to each other a couple of times, but I don’t really remember. I think the only time we talked was during the end-of-term poetry analysis assignment, in which we paired up to analyze Elizabeth Bishop’s Sestina. It’s about how terribly sad and gorgeous and marvelous life and dying are, and also about tea-time. I quite like it.

Sestina

September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.

She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,

It’s time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle’s small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove,
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother
hangs up the clever almanac

on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child,
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.

It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother.

But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.

Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.