With several of our members in hospice recently, I’ve been thinking of this poem. I love the way it celebrates marriage and the quiet, secret language that grows between two people sharing life through the days and years.
Marriage of Many Years
By Dana Gioia
Most of what happens happens beyond words.
The lexicon of lip and fingertip
defies translation into common speech.
I recognize the musk of your dark hair.
It always thrills me, though I can’t describe it.
My finger on your thigh does not touch skin—
it touches your skin warming to my touch.
You are a language I have learned by heart.
This intimate patois will vanish with us,
its only native speakers. Does it matter?
Our tribal chants, our dances round the fire
performed the sorcery we most required.
They bound us in a spell time could not break.
Let the young vaunt their ecstasy. We keep
our tribe of two in sovereign secrecy.
What must be lost was never lost on us.
I’m away this week, rock climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge and enjoying the beauty of creation. I’ll be back for church on Sunday and I’m looking forward to seeing you then.