Thursday, January 29, 2015

On Marriage

On Marriage

It seems a marriage gains in strength and lasts,
when eros wanes and plays a lesser part.
For in its time that tide may ebb and yet
the fullness of the bond be unimpaired.

And if that mixing wild of metaphors
has given pause, could one alone suffice
to paint in words a wedding’s aftermath –
that light embrace in which the spouses dance?
Their thoughts, their words and most of all their acts
of caring build the friendship and the trust –
the rooms and girders of the house in which
the eros is a guest that comes and goes.
A guest that's welcome, one that gives delight –
but still a guest who's free to leave or not –
so all should be, including man and wife,
despite the ring and all it signifies.
We seek for permanence – to feel secure,
to give another shelter in our warmth.
And yet we know the winds that blow about
could take with them the ones that we have loved.
A structure built on eros might collapse
more easily than one that’s built on trust.
The guest is here tonight, tomorrow gone.
The house remains and waits for her return.
In all the tumult and the ceaseless flow,
the dwellings couples make are ripples mere.
Yet in that space, however small it seems,
there still is room for all the universe.
For each has strength – and when the two are one,
the strengths they each possess are multiplied.
And weakness, each may have. The friend, the spouse
may know it well and yet not stint in love.
And two can make a space that one cannot –
a space in which to nurture that which comes,
a space that’s not reserved, with room enough
for laughter, love and all the grief and woe.
But some of us are single – never wed
or though once wedded, now no longer so.
And some may pine for what they missed or lost,
and yet survive and even be of cheer.
We need our company – we need our friends,
but friendship true is hard for us to find.
And married bliss – or married hell – are things
that few may ever have or bear for long.
And when we’re single, we return to homes
that often lack in human company.
A product, this – of that insanity
that empties villages and even towns…

But those who marry and remain as joined –
they know the wedding marked a turning point.
They once were two – but then were made as one,
for better or for worse, till death’s divide.

The wedding is remembered and the years
before and after.  Children might be born
or not – and grow to adults, leave, return.
The spinster still outlives her sisters all.

For that divide will come – for some, with death,
for some, before – and only half remain,
with memory that's bittersweet, until
that remnant half in turn to nothing goes.

By chance, we're born.  By chance, we meet and wed,
perchance to then give birth, to nurture, tend –
and then to part, so one is left behind
to mark the time and wait for chanceful death.

So marriage?  “It’s a wondrous thing.” we’re told
by some, “It’s just a vestige of the past.”
by others.  Whom should you and I believe?
I've said my piece before – and now should leave.

And so I end my ode to marriage, though
my knowledge might be scant, and others say,
"He knows as much about it as a priest
who's celibate and yet gives brides advice."

2015 January 29th, Thu.
(some stanzas added Jan. 31st, Sat.)
Brooklyn, New York


JJM said...

Beautiful discussion of the various aspects of marriage. Loved it!

Arjun Janah said...

Glad you liked it. ;-) Is that Jubae?