Sunday, 14 February 2010

A Wedding Shanty (for Jo and Mash)

I cannot write your love.
I have an inland hand
and insufficient ink to fill the sea of it.
But I can look into the waves
and see if I can find you,
beneath the water or above,
swimming, fishing,
or sitting on the beach,
drifting on the quiet comfort
of your togetherness.

The sea is yours. It reflects you,
first alone, now together.
Your movements are mirrored in the tides.

Even at home you can hear it:
it flows nightly through the hall,
along the skirting board,
as far as the kitchen,
and out, waterfalling down the steps.
It laps at the foot of your bed
and soaks the sheets.
It sloshes in your wine glasses,
your record sleeves.
Even Gloria must lift her paws to let it pass.

You've always heard it:
its beat and retreat,
its echo in your dreams,
as if you both knew it was waiting
to roll and tangle you in love,
to press two holey stones upon your fingers.
It remembers you, and sings to you
two halves of a sea song that are now as one.

And so, for what my earth-bound hand,
my land-lover's words are worth,
this is my shanty to you both.
Yours is the sea. You have its blessing.
May you always go to it together.

***My brother, Mash, married Jo last weekend at Huntsham Court in Devon. It was a great wedding and a fun weekend, and I read this piece during the service.

Jo and Mash live on the Sussex coast and share a great love of the sea. When we were children, one of Mash's greatest pleasures was to be taken down to Seaford on a windy day to watch the waves.

Gloria is a very black cat who lives with Jo and Mash.

1 comment:

  1. I just re-read this sitting at my desk in the Smoke... and it filled me with much happiness and love and yearning to get back to the sea tonight! A lovely shanty. Thank you again. Jo xx