Last weekend I officiated - in a decidedly secular and civilian role - at a friend's non-religious wedding, themed to reflect A Midsummer Night's Dream. The brief ceremony was held at the edge of a copse on the bridegroom's family's 500-acre estate near Barnstaple in North Devon. The reception took place beneath a set of huge linked tipis, decorated to theatrical perfection by the marrying couple. And just over the edge of the adjoining fields was the great spread of the Bristol Channel.
As I chugged back eastwards on the train, the following poem began to emerge. By the time I'd arrived at my own station on the other side of the country, a first draft was complete. Somehow Tess' chosen image for this weeks' The Mag seems to resonate with the theme so here it. And claiming a pleasant labour in the discharging of my task, it's on dVerse too!
Two long trains and down a scribble
of lanes drawn across chalk and grass.
An old grey house, wrapped in its years.
The fields around the winding copse
strung with lanterns, fat candles set
in jars, fetish toadstools thick with fairies.
A citadel of tipis from skirt to apex set
against the sky. The sea beyond.
We tread through petals and amongst
the beeches and the chestnuts, under
a carapace of twisted branches,
you exchange your vows. Your voices
rustle at the edge of silence. Birds
are clearer deep amongst the trees
and at first we lean to listen: words
still have their weight; plenty lie like coins
face up, currency dispensed between us.
But you have charged the air – a plume
like marsh gas glows above your heads,
lifting slowly, shining like a long familiar
light. And as a flock of birds that turns
in tandem from cloud to clear air,
we understand that the love within
those wordless syllables belongs to us all.