Sunday, May 7, 2017

Where Have You Been?

Celebrating the wedding of friends turns out like nothing that could have been anticipated.

The setting is bucolic, the weather cooperates, but only barely. These two people I have come to honor are in love as only young people can be, eager, open and confident their love will last a lifetime. I'm inclined to think it will.

But the moon shines
as bright as my adoration 
for you tonight,
fleeting or no
They both have their moods,
but like the moon,
even when shadowed from the glorious and warm sun,
my love for you still exists, 
whole and humbling,
Circling just out of sight

I have just enough time to greet the bride and groom, chat with the groom's parents and briefly with the two couples I know before it becomes clear I would be better serving the party as an extra set of hands rather than a frivolous guest.

The moon again,
Waxing, not quite as full as last
leaves long shadows 
across the would-be vineyard
Through the grackle feet
of the budding gums
Scratching at the sky

The hard-working brick oven needs more than one person to feed it personal pizzas, each crafted according to the ingredient list written on the back of a paper plate by a hungry guest.

Believing that I am just the person to assist in the endeavor, I volunteer and am soon busy rolling out dough balls, spreading toppings and chatting with guests who watch our every move. "I like to bake," says one wide-eyed 6-year old. "When did you start baking?"

A lifetime ago.

My bearded friend comes over to take a photo of me working, observing, "In seven years, I've never seen you actually working." I point out the same is true for me about him.

Midnight in the country
All windows and doors open,
Fantastic breeze 
with three layers of clouds
Moving past the moon
at different speeds
Recuperative sleep will dominate
I still think of you 
when I see the moon,
it seems

Five hours later, the crowd of nearly 200 - the number of pizzas we have crafted, baked and served - has thinned considerably and small groups are clustered in various locations: on benches under the canopy, near the still-playing band beside the barn and up on the hill near the bonfire.

I'm more than happy to sit and enjoy the flames, a glass of South African Rose and conversation with friends and strangers.

Again you upset
The quiet and unsaid thing
That makes us a whole

Slowly, the knot of people around the fire begins to drift away after a long day of dancing, partying, playing croquet and other yard games. The extended family will return first thing in the morning for a communal brunch featuring biscuits baked in the oven that held everyone in its thrall today.

Only a fool believes 
you can return
to the scene of the crime 
and not find the same intersection, 
even when 
hurt and disappointment 
have been paved over

Atop a bale of hay, the bride sits on the groom's lap, her arm around his neck, their smiles conveying both adoration and the loopiness born of  a day celebrating the start of their life together. My happiness for them knows no bounds.

Optimism drifts up 
like smoke, 
by regret 
and melancholy

All the things you wish for them are all the things you haven't been fortunate enough to find yourself, a truth driven home by fireplace light. The fervent desire to be part of a sustained whole is unrelenting, even at middle age, yet continues to remain out of reach, circling just out of sight.

Overhead, the moon is bright in the late night sky but offers no solace.


  1. Great writing, I am at a loss for words.

  2. Professor, I can't take all the credit. The first four poems were written about me, not by me.

  3. there are many things in this posting, a certain sadness being one....


  4. Hope you're seeing your Mom on Sunday...