Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I've been married five times, four times to the same man. My second husband, Charles, and I got married in bits. We were legally joined at 8:00 AM on New Years Eve at New York City Hall, after standing in line outside in the bitter cold. We roped a friend visiting from out-of-town into being our witness--nearly everyone else we knew was on vacation. We were crowned with tropical-flower leis in the church a few weeks later at Juvenaly's Orthodox Mission in Kona, Hawaii. Afterward we sipped champagne with dear friends and looked out at the sea. To include our local parish and friends (now all returned to NYC from vacation), our marriage was then blessed a few days after Valentine's at St Mary Magdalen's Orthodox Church on the Upper West Side. And then, when I'd really had enough of these weddings, we celebrated with family (and a number of taxidermic creatures) in a spare one-room schoolhouse on the high plains south of Denver, Colorado. Elk, salmon, and a number of awkward toasts, were served.

I recite all this in some way to explain why I chose the poem by Matthew Roher below. So much of our first year of marriage was spent in external activities and events. There was so much to plan, to do, to adjust to. I sometimes forgot the man I'd fallen in love with, who teased me in courtyard at the Cloisters and then pointed out the subtle s-curve in a wooden scupture of the Virgin Mary. Under all the shiny things we did that first year, under all the weddings, moves, stresses, presents, and purchases, something was hidden. Something known barely to ourselves, this thing that grows from two lives lived side-by-side. In the solitude of our own hearts, and in the often dogged discussions we had about life and our life together, a space was plotted and a garden planted.

By the way, an epithalamium is a poem written in honor of the bride and groom.


In the middle garden is the secret wedding,
that hides always under the other one
and under the shiny things of the other one. Under a tree
one hand reaches through the grainy dusk toward another.
Two right hands. The ring is a weed that will surely die.

There is no one else for miles,
and even those people far away are deaf and blind.
There is no one to bless this.
There are the dark trees, and just beyond the trees.

by Matthew Roher

{ Poetry Wednesday }


Molly Sabourin said...

I love your posts, Amber! They are such a feast for the mind and eyes (and heart, of course). Your introduction to your poem this week was just perfect. Thanks so much again for participating.

Jennifer said...

This is one of my favorites! You beat me to it, and I'm glad you did. Your introduction is perfect for it!

Kris Livovich said...

Echoing both previous comments! The introduction is what peaked my interest in this poem, lovely.

Julia said...

This is very strange. A few weeks ago I discovered this very poem online AND ALMOST SENT IT TO YOU. It was stuck in my mind for a few days-- very haunting. What else can I say.

Jenny Schroedel said...


So beautiful. I love it. I just love it.