Hymenaios (for Isabella and Martin)
We drank down our doubts, savoured the questions and accidents,
and what’s left is an empty cup to be filled, today.
Almost the first miracle in the world, making wine
for a day like this. We know, in this world, our arms
cannot reach forever; we remember Spanish-tinted dreams
spanning whole jungles separating us, heavy nights spent
dreaming one anothers’ voices and tonguesof a day
like this. And we seal a pledge bounded by the inevitable,
but look to the boundless; we would pledge it in every tongue
in the world, if we could. But though we cannot, behold
us anyway, dear friends. Today we become our love.
Notes: Hymenaios is the name of the Greek god of marriage, as well as the traditional song of the bridesmaids, but in general it’s also a general-purpose term for a “wedding song”. (The poem I wrote for my other sister’s wedding, an epithalamion, is apparently one specific type of hymenaios which was traditionally sung accompanying the bridal couple to the bedchamber. According to what I can find online, anyway. The hymenaios is the more all-encompassing category… but I’m not wholly sure.)
April 6, 2004