Tell me the photograph I lately spied
While idly searching round the internet,
One of a greying woman and a bride,
A common scene of longing and regret,
She’s fussing with the buttons and the dress,
Just doing what brides’ mothers often do
To stall the creeping sense of uselessness …
Please tell me that this woman isn’t you.
Her eyes are heavy-lidded widow’s eyes,
Not wide and worshipful how I recall.
Her weary face with sorrow etched likewise,
Not fresh and freckled tempting me to fall.
Her lips so tightly clenched that I surmise
These can’t be lips that once held me in thrall.
Notes: Not that I need any more reminders, but time is moving on. I — and those I have known and loved and lost — are getting older. And life is not always kind.
When love is good and it lasts, it can be tempting to idealize its beginnings.
One piece of insider information: the very first time I saw my wife, she was glowing. I kid you not. Sitting in the second row of a darkened auditorium listening to the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate she was surrounded by a golden aura.
I had a camera, but was so befuddled I failed to get the shot. You might argue I was imagining things, but I don’t think so. I’m not given to visions nor hallucinations. I’ve never witnessed anything like it before or since.
I think it was a special gift for a fellow a bit slow on the uptake, who needed a sign to notice a good thing right under my nose.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
We come now to the winter of our years
(Where did the autumn with its pleasures go?)
Our roof will all too soon be cloaked with snow,
So, come, let’s stoke our fire against the fears.
It seems another life ago, my dear,
That full of grace you pilgrim sat aglow
Enkindled so this prodigal would know
That grace was free and grace was very near.
Midsummer’s eve brought more epiphanies
Of spotless bride adorned, redeemed, in white,
Too ill for customary liberties,
So wan, yet still for these sore eyes a sight.
Then! Over Lake Champlain the full moon sees
A railway sleeper car rock through the night.