Three Ways of Looking at a Wedding

For Conal & Marianne, June 1981

1. Binary Star

One image for this wedding is
the conjunction of stars:

You two and each of us is a sun,
burning with impossible heat,
wandering, alone, through impossible isolation,
the endless vacuum night.

We see others like us, far away;
perhaps we talk to each other
with sunspots and solar flares.
But years pass between words,
and centuries stretch between sentences,
so conversation only sharpens our separateness.

Yet consider:
Two stars whirling close enough together
that they come to share
each otherís gravity, light, and star stuff,
circling a common center,
connected, yet distinct.

 2. Pointing at the Moon

Let your relationship be the moon,
changing from half to full phase,
as it rises at dusk,
high, mysterious, and difficult to attain.

Let this wedding be the collective finger,
pointing to this moon;
the act of reference which says:
"Look, the moon is rising, is almost full."

But the moon is high and difficult
(perhaps none of us will ever live there);
And the finger, pointing, our act of reference,
is so much easier to see:

The skill with which
this basic gesture is carried out,
the objective and immediate
qualities of the hand,
are so apparent.

All this might make it seem
that we need really look no further...

But that, of course, would be to miss the point of this.

 3. Your Way of Looking

What I have been trying to do
is to help you fix your experience
of this change,
as if it were a slide or a photograph,
with metaphors of
transformation, travel, and connection.

The truth is, I canít do this;
youíll have to look at it for yourselves.

Perhaps you think you know
what youíre all about in this wedding:
What youíve got to do,
the performance, the order of the ceremony;
and the relevant concepts and their words:
Love, faith, commitment, fidelity,
change in status, rite of passage.

But Iím convinced that if you could make a space
and listen to yourselves, youíd find
you havenít yet, really, found
what this is all about for you,
what it really means for you
to be here, right now,
with us and with each other;
And maybe that means that nothing
has changed for you yet.

So please consider the following
as a way to come to your own
change, picture or poem,
if not now,
with the noise of my words
and the distraction of the performance,
then soon:

Make a space of quiet in you
and ask yourselves,
for each of you,
in relation to each other and to us,
your community,
ask yourselves:
"Whatís this really all about for me?"

And when you go past the ceremony
(the finger pointing, now,
or in memory);
And when you go past the easy labels,
down, in, to, the part of you
that is still unclear, fuzzy;
the nagging sense of
a something just beyond reach
for each of you, with each other
and with us,

And when you let yourselves go into that
and let yourselves unfold
the all of it,
then Iím convinced
you will find your true growing edge,
your true connection,
your true journey,
your true change, and
your true poem.

Copyright 1998 by Robert Elliott

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