Wedding Poems: Bounty & Permanence by Emily Threlkeld In our previous installment of wedding poems APW-style, we shared poetry on two themes: gifts and laughter, both of which are perfectly appropriate for weddings. This time, the themes are a bit more serious. Hang with me, though, I promise not to bore you. The ceremony is when you get to say your piece on what this whole marriage thing means to you. And for a lot of you, the meaning is more complex than smushy romance; it’s about the bigness of committing forever. So first up, there are poems about bounty, and the sense of abundance that comes with joy. (Happily, this includes one of my favorite forms: the list poem, which always reminds me of counting my blessings.) Second, there are poems about permanence, about the inevitability of falling in love and of everything that happens after. Bounty It’s all I have to bring today (26) by Emily Dickinson It’s all I have to bring today – This, and my heart beside – This, and my heart, and all the fields – And all the meadows wide – Be sure you count—should I forget Some one the sum could tell – This, and my heart, and all the Bees Which in the Clover dwell. A Blessing for Wedding by 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 One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII by Pablo Neruda, translated by Mark Eisner I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz, or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as one loves certain obscure things, secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself, and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose from the earth lives dimly in my body. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you directly without problems or pride: I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love, except in this form in which I am not nor are you, so close that your hand upon my chest is mine, so close that your eyes close with my dreams. Permanence since feeling is first by e.e. cummings since feeling is first who pays any attention to the syntax of things will never wholly kiss you; wholly to be a fool while Spring is in the world my blood approves, and kisses are a better fate than wisdom lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry —the best gesture of my brain is less than your eyelids’ flutter which says we are for each other: then laugh, leaning back in my arms for life’s not a paragraph And death i think is no parenthesis Resignation by Nikki Giovanni I love you because the Earth turns around the sun because the North wind blows north sometimes because the Pope is Catholic and most Rabbis Jewish because winters flow into springs and the air clears after a storm because only my love for you despite the charms or gravity keeps me from falling off this Earth into another dimension I love you because it is the natural order of things I love you like the habit I picked up in college of sleeping through lectures or saying I’m sorry when I get stopped for speeding because I drink a glass of water in the morning and chain-smoke cigarettes all through the day because I take my coffee Black and my milk with chocolate because you keep my feet warm though my life a mess I love you because I don’t want it any other way I am helpless in my love for you It makes me so happy to hear you call my name I am amazed you can resist locking me in an echo chamber where your voice reverberates through the four walls sending me into spasmatic ecstasy I love you because it’s been so good for so long that if I didn’t love you I’d have to be born again and that is not a theological statement I am pitiful in my love for you The Dells tell me Love is so simple the thought though of you sends indescribably delicious multitudinous thrills throughout and through-in my body I love you because no two snow flakes are alike and it is possible if you stand tippy-toe to walk between the raindrops I love you because I am afraid of the dark and can’t sleep in the light because I rub my eyes when I wake up in the morning and find you there because you with all your magic powers were determined that I should love you because there was nothing for you but that I would love you I love you because you made me want to love you more than I love my privacy my freedom my commitments and responsibilities I love you 'cause I changed my life to love you because you saw me one Friday afternoon and decided that I would love you I love you I love you I love you Superbly Situated by Robert Hershon you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to right from the beginning—a relationship based on good sense and thoughtfulness in little things i would like to be loved for such simple attainments as breathing regularly and not falling down too often or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed how superbly situated the empire state building is how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you part of me fears that some moron is already plotting to tear down the empire state building and replace it with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being in the right place at the right time—come take your seat we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve First and third photos by APW Sponsor Gabriel Harber; second photo by APW Sponsor Emily Takes Photos. Emily Threlkeld Contributor Emily's first marriage was to her stuffed raccoon Ringo (named for the Beatle). She wore her yellow Easter dress to the ceremony and her mother officiated. She has a BFA in Creative Writing, a cat named after the heroine of To Kill a Mockingbird, and a permanent case of wanderlust.