Wedding on New Year’s Eve

Don’t often talk about this, but I am an ordained celebrant. I perform weddings, house blessing, child namings. I create ceremonies for people who need a special ritual in their lives. Sometimes when I say “ritual” people think of incantations and swinging a chicken over your head and yelling “Shalimar!’ but that’s not what I do.

Digital art, fractal art by © Wiirus, New Year's Eve.

Digital art, fractal art by © Wiirus, New Year’s Eve.

This wedding is low-key and simple. It will be on New Year’s Eve. The couple were each married before, and after almost two decades of being alone, have found each other. I visited them today and their path to getting married is so complicated and highly patterned. Tonight I wrote their ceremony, and found a poem that is perfect for them. I thought you’d enjoy it, too. The title is the author’s, and names people he knows.

Wedding Poem For Schele and Phil

A marriage is risky business these days
Says some old and prudent voice inside.
We don’t need twenty children anymore
To keep the family line alive,
Or gather up the hay before the rain.
No law demands respectability.
Love can arrive without certificate or cash.
History and experience both make clear
That men and women do not hear
The music of the world in the same key,
Rather rolling dissonances doomed to clash.

So what is left to justify a marriage?
Maybe only the hunch that half the world
Will ever be present in any room
With just a single pair of eyes to see it.
Whatever is invisible to one
Is to the other an enormous golden lion
Calm and sleeping in the easy chair.
After many years, if things go right
Both lion and emptiness are always there;
The one never true without the other.

But the dark secret of the ones long married,
A pleasure never mentioned to the young,
Is the sweet heat made from two bodies in a bed
Curled together on a winter night,
The smell of the other always in the quilt,
The hand set quietly on the other’s flank
That carries news from another world
Light-years away from the one inside
That you always thought you inhabited alone.
The heat in that hand could melt a stone.

Bill Holm

–Quinn McDonald loved spending an evening reading poetry, looking for just the right ones, even though she should have been working on the garage sale.

9 thoughts on “Wedding on New Year’s Eve

  1. That life-long love is something I haven’t had, and now never will experience I guess . . . a heartache yes, but I love my life as it is. That touch is the only thing missing and I take that whence it comes.

    • it sounds wise indeed to play the hand you are dealt. I was miserable married the first time and this time see how it can be different. And the years I’ve lived alone were good, too. it’s a big world of experience.

  2. Tears…that’s soooo lovely….to hell with the garage sale,that will sit in the hearts of those who listen so beautifully….x

    • The garage sale, which has sucked up every spare minute (and more than a few evenings) is thankfully over. The last of the unsold items will be picked up this week, and then the garage should be big enough for both cars. Ahhhhh. . . .

  3. Oh come on, when has someone thought of incantations and swinging a chicken over your head and yelling “Shalimar!’ just because you said “ritual”? As everyone knows, the proper approach is to juggle three cats while yelling “Chanel No. 5!”

  4. From one who has been married a long time and expects to be married much longer I can testify the truth in the lines of that poem. My favorite person in the world and I married when I was just sixteen and he nineteen. Now in our sixties, the fever has cooled but there is still a steady low burn we will always share. We understand each other with a look and old St. Nick has got nothin’ on that twinkle in the eye. I hope long years of happiness for your bride and groom. It sounds like a beautiful, thought provoking ceremony is in store. You sound like a believer, Quinn.

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