Friday, October 16, 2009

Between life and death

If variety is the spice of life, and myrrh the spice of death, good poetry seasons everything in between.

This achingly beautiful poem by R S Thomas, who I've been reading again recently, is about marriage - and more than that. It captures the sense of the rush of time, our mortality and the fragility of the present. It's very tender and makes me want to live more deliberately. (And it makes me thank God for my wife.)

A Marriage by R S Thomas

We met
under a shower
of bird-notes.
Fifty years passed,
love's moment
in a world in
servitude to time.
She was young;
I kissed with my eyes
closed and opened
them on her wrinkles.
'Come,' said death,
choosing her as his
partner for
the last dance, And she,
who in life
had done everything
with a bird's grace,
opened her bill now
for the shedding
of one sigh no
heavier than a feather.

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