Epithalamion – A Wedding Poem

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This is a bit of an unusual post for me – looking through some old writing I found a poem, and thought I’d share it here.  I used to write poetry much more often – like a lot of people, I suspect! – and I think this is the last one I actually finished.  It was written a few years ago, to be read at a friend’s wedding.  When she was first engaged, she’d asked me to find a poem to read at the ceremony, and after searching for a while and not finding anything quite right (she’s a medievalist with exacting tastes) I joked that I’d have to compose the bloody thing myself.  Which she then held me to.  I duly wrote it, and a year or so later she was one of my ushers at my wedding, so we’re all square.  Here’s the text as I read it, in the chapel of a ruined castle in the border country between Wales and England.

Epithalamion
for Sian and Jones

Join hands to tread the wedding measure,
Dodge the turns and make the row.
But asked to give a reason why we’re dancing
Each one of us will answer “We don’t know”.

Charge your glasses, pledge the couple:
If wit won’t, then the wine must flow!
Here’s health to fill the names and figures
We once were all so sure that we could know.

But now they’ve stood before us here, proudly confessed
The selves they dreamt up whilst the rest were sleeping.
We’ll fill the night with noise: loudly inept,
But willing witnesses to what we’ve vaguely guessed
They know about each other, both minds leaping
To this fierce secret that their eyes and hands have kept.