Poetry Friday: Marriage, as seen by me
(and Marge Piercy)

h1 October 12th, 2007 by eisha

no, that’s not usI’ve had marriage on my mind lately. B. and I are attending two weddings this weekend. And our own eight-year anniversary is coming up. No, seriously. Eight years. And we started dating six years before that, so we’ve been together over a third of our lives. It always gives me pause when I think about it in those terms. How much have we shaped each other, been cultivated by each other into the adults we’ve become? Who would I be now if I’d never met him?

I also spent time recently with a widow around my own age. And Grace Lin has just started blogging again, after the loss of her husband. And when my aunt passed away in March, she left behind my uncle, her high school sweetheart and husband of 30+ years. I look at these people and think, could I do it? Could I build a new life on my own, if B. were taken away from me? Could I be that strong? Who would I become then?

I don’t know. I really just don’t know. I mean, sure, marriage is hard, and people always tell you that before you get married but you just don’t know how hard until you’re in it. When you get married, your vows should go something like “I promise that no matter how I grow and change and evolve as a person, I’ll keep myself in synch with you while you undergo your own individual growth and evolution.” Not very poetic. But I didn’t marry my husband because I expected a non-stop romantic-movie montage sort of life. I married him because I think I’m a better person with him than without him. We don’t always agree, we often get on each other’s nerves, sometimes we flat out don’t get each other. But he’s so much a part of me now, he’s family, and if something happened to him I can’t even imagine the hole that would leave in the universe.

So, here’s a love poem, in tribute to my husband, and to everone else who’s ever been crazy-brave enough to marry somebody.

from “Colors passing through us” by Marge Piercy:

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

Read the rest here.

21 comments to “Poetry Friday: Marriage, as seen by me
(and Marge Piercy)”

  1. Tearing up. Just like at a wedding. In fact, why don’t they read this poem at weddings?

    Your definition of marriage is the same as mine, eisha: “I married him because I think I’m a better person with him than without him.” Amen. Although, after 23 years of being a better person, I thought I’d be perfect by now. 🙂

  2. What an amazing poem. Thanks for sharing this beauty. I love it. Happy Anniversary and may there be many more!

  3. Jules,

    I guess great minds do think alke. I chose the same poem for this Poetry Friday!

    I’ve been with my husband for forty-five years! We met when we were sophomores in high school. Life has been good with “My Guy!” I consider myself most fortunate.

  4. Eisha,

    Sorry, Eisha! I didn’t get much sleep last night! Also, I posted the Piercy poem at Blue Rose Girls–not Wild Rose Reader!

  5. Elaine – no way! We’re psychic brain twins. And 45 years of cohabitation with another human being is a serious achievement. Congrats!

    And I didn’t get much sleep last night either, which may explain why, when I look at this post today, all I can think of is the “Mawwiage” speech in The Princess Bride:

    “And wove… twue wove… will fowwow you… fowever…”

    Thanks, Sara and Vivian, for digging it. And Sara, if you were perfect after the first 23 years, what would you do with the next 23?

  6. Oh, Eisha. I can’t decide if I’m crying over your post or the poem. Or both. Here’s to your crazy braveness…

  7. Oh! Wow.
    That poem is both wondrous and completely unknowable; I feel like an artist only beginning to understand a little bit, about color, about marriage, about life.

    That is awesome.

  8. “I promise that no matter how I grow and change and evolve as a person, I’ll keep myself in synch with you while you undergo your own individual growth and evolution.”

    Slam dunk, Eisha. That’s going to be with me all day. Maybe all weekend. Probably longer.

  9. Lovely post and poem.

    Your thoughts remind me of something a hospital chaplain said to Bri and I as just kind of an aside in a bigger conversation. He said that when someone close to you dies, what you miss are the things that person did in your life–daily things like making the coffee, bigger things like helping you learn something about yourself. It seems so obvious to me now, but I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it then. I was pretty young.

  10. Lovely post and poem, Eisha.

  11. Eisha,

    You won’t believe this, but I was reading the very same poem at 1:30 a.m. this morning (in the collection Stone, Paper, Knife), and was sitting there marveling over it while my husband (of 29 years) was snoring very loudly in the other room.
    Reading the poem calmed me down and made me realize how lost I would be if the day came when all was quiet.

    I really try to consciously remind myself to make the most of all our time together. Happy Anniversary. I think you were sending psychic brain waves my way last night.

  12. Lovely!



  13. Geez, Jama, you and Elaine and I – all three, focused on the same poem. Spooky. I think it must mean something…

    adrienne, that does make sense, but I wouldn’t have thought to put it that way either. You’re definitely one of the people I look at and wonder if I could ever be as strong as you.

    And thanks, Liz, TadMack, Jen and Kelly.

  14. Oh, hey, Andrea! Thanks. And good job remembering what MotherReader said about “branding” your comments at the conference!

  15. E, your thoughts on this are more poetic than any poetry. I loved what you said. I feel the same way about my mawwiage (thanks always for including any and all references to Princess Bride. Awesome).

    Thanks for the lovely love thoughts. You said it all.

  16. […] “Colors Passing Through Us” — Elaine Magliaro at Blue Rose Girls & Eisha at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast […]

  17. oh, geez, Eisha, I am getting all teary-eyed. That’s a lovely poem.

  18. Wonderful stuff, E! Hope you have a very happy anniversary, and many more years together.

    An analogy that I’ve used with Mheir (who I started dating when I was still in college, half a lifetime ago) is that we’re like two trees that grew up right next to each other, so that now our branches are all intertwined, such that it would be impossible to pull them apart.

  19. Ooh, yeah, Jen. That’s a good way to put it. Separate, but inseparable.

    Yeah, Susan, it is lovely, isn’t it? That Marge…

    And thanks, Robin, for the sweet words and for getting the reference.

  20. Oh, what a lovely poem. I have been married almost 29 years to my wonderful husband. He has supported me every step of the way in my career, always putting me first. Now that we are both much older and the stark reality of being a children’s book writer (no benefits, no security) have hit us hard in the last few years, I realize that I still would have set my box of crayons at his feet . . . and he wouldn’t have had it any other way. Thanks for the poem.

  21. Mazel tov, Eisha!

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