6.18.2018

Poem for an Elopement


My partner and I eloped this year. Well, it wasn't a true elopement, since our parents, siblings, and two witnesses knew in advance. But we did pack up our beagle and have the tiny wedding of our dreams unbeknownst to almost everyone...


A couple of days after the ceremony, we headed off to the Azores for our honeymoon. Moments before we boarded our plane, we announced our elopement to friends and extended family via an Instagram post. What a time to be alive!

Since our wedding was so intimate, it required mercifully little planning. This was a ideal, since it gave us time to be thoughtful about the details without getting stressed or overwhelmed. One of the duties that I took on was selecting the reading that one of our witnesses (and my dear friend) was to recite during the ceremony. I spent a month browsing through poems and, after discussing a shortlist with Dane, we chose this one:

A Blessing for Wedding 
by Jane Hirshfield

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song 
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves 
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
     or someone you never met has died
Today when someone you love has been born
     or someone you will not meet has been born
Today when rain leaps to the waiting of roots in their dryness
Today when starlight bends to the roofs of the hungry and tired
Today when someone sits long inside his last sorrow
Today when someone steps into the heat of her first embrace
Today, let this light bless you
With these friends let it bless you
With snow-scent and lavender bless you
Let the vow of this day keep itself wildly and wholly
Spoken and silent, surprise you inside your ears
Sleeping and waking, unfold itself inside your eyes
Let its fierceness and tenderness hold you
Let its vastness be undisguised in all your days

It was the perfect pick for us, and my friend read it beautifully - a moment I will always remember!


What poems or words did you choose for your wedding? I'd love to know. And, if you're interested, here are the poems that made the shortlist for our wedding:

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII by Pablo Neruda
To You by Kenneth Koch
Love Song by Mary Carolyn Davies
You, Therefore by Reginald Shepherd
Song for the Last Act by Louise Bogan

PS As a bonus, here is the wedding poem that I would have picked if I was just a tad more irreverent. I love it.