My niece and goddaughter got married last weekend in Maryland. It was a great occasion to celebrate with my family (70 and counting), and a great occasion for poem elfing.
There’s no poem hidden in this picture but I do think I captured one in her expression. Look how she grips her father as she walks down the aisle towards her beloved with such transparent joy. She can hardly hold it all in. If I could have placed a poem on her person it would be this, from an unknown Chinese poet:
If I were a tree or a plant
I would feel the soft influence of spring.
Since I am a man . . .
Do not be astonished at my joy.
But I did manage to hide a few poems over the weekend. I tied a Rumi poem to the bouquet Tricia used for rehearsal:
You can’t go wrong with Rumi for a wedding.
Tricia was a very happy bride, dancing and laughing all night, but at no point did she reach the “disgraceful” or “crazy” stage. Neither did Poem Elf, I’ll have you know. Still the poem’s a useful reminder to switch gears from planning to celebrating.
Tricia didn’t notice the dangling poem until I pointed it out.
I planted another poem in the office of the father of the bride, my brother Donnie.
I found “The Giving” in a collection of poems by someone named Max Ellison in a used bookstore in northern Michigan last summer.
I’ll reprint the words because I’m sure someone searching on “wedding poem” will want to copy them:
by Max Ellison
Who give this woman to be wed?
Her mother and I.
We gave her dawn.
We gave her grace.
We stamped our image
On her face.
We gave her books,
And through the years
We calmed her early
We gave her faith.
We gave her prayer.
She walked our road.
She climbed our stairs.
And now in solemn troth
We can not give.
We only share.
I love this poem. At first I had reservations about the whole idea of “giving” a woman to a man or “sharing” her, but in the face of such loving fatherly sentiments, those reservations be darned. This poem is just flat-out sweet and true. We are each of us a gift to the world.
Poet Max Ellison was less obscure than I originally thought. Well-known in his hometown of Bellaire, Michigan, he sold his books on street corners, spoke at Governor Milliken’s inauguration, and may have been—although I can’t confirm—the poet laureate of Michigan. He lived simply in a house he built called “Frog Holler,” which had no running water or electricity. His poetry is also simple, in the best sense: clean and straightforward and honest. No frippery.
In the goody bags for the out-of-town guests staying at the hotel, I left Dante’s “La Vita Nuova.”
I’ve already written about this poem, so I’ll include the link, post the picture and not say one more word about it:
Finally I included this poem (or excerpt from a poem) with the newlyweds’ wedding gift, a lamp. I forgot to take a picture of the actual lamp with the poem, so I put another copy in my front window:
The poem provides an answer to the question Rodgers and Hammerstein posed in Cinderella:
Do I love you because
or are you beautiful
because I love you?
I can’t find a thing on the poet, Fulvia Lupulo, except that’s she’s Mexican. Tricia’s husband is also of Mexican descent, so I hope this poem finds a special place in his heart.
And here’s the bridegroom himself, with my mother at the rehearsal dinner:
I can’t resist including two more pictures of my mother at the wedding. First, dancing with one of her grandsons:
And then surprised by her grandsons’ Zou Bisou Bisou:
Ain’t love grand?