Monday, August 23, 2010

i wish i was a neutron bomb, for once i could go off


I want to call you thou, the sound
of the shape of the start
of a kiss - like this, thou -
and to say, after, I love,
thou, I love, thou I love, not
I love you.

                Because I so do - 
as we say now - I want to say
thee, I adore, I adore thee,
and to know in my lips
the syntax of love resides,
and to gaze in thine eyes.

Love's language starts, stops, starts;
the right words flowing or clotting in the heart.

Carol Ann Duffy

Had I been aware of the above poem three weeks or so ago I might well have used it as my reading during our registry office wedding. Not for all the soppy 'thou' stuff - though the worshipful tone can ring true - but for the last couple of lines expressing the awkwardness of finding the right words to talk about love. I scoured various volumes of poetry in the days before the wedding and even made the mistake of typing in 'poems for marriage' into Google. Unable to find anything that wasn't wilfully oblique, or cloyingly, clingily, cringingly awful I wrote my own poem instead. How embarrassing. I won't publish it here, not due to any sense of modesty or privacy, but because it is not, in hindsight, very good at all. But the sentiment it expressed, I think, was right.

Sadly, I don't think I can say the same of my speech at our Saturday wedding, the one with a hundred or so people at it. Years of wandering into a class full of baying teenagers with nothing prepared and winging it to a reasonable degree of success had lulled me into thinking it would be OK to do the same thing on my wedding day. It wasn't. I burbled a lot, glanced at the skimpy notes I had made with utter incomprehension, and forgot to thank half the people I really ought to have thanked. I was thinking of things I should have said for the first three or four days of our honeymoon - a kind of esprit d'escaliers without the prior insult. Perhaps I could blame blogging for giving me all the time in the world to think about what I want to say. Articulacy is easier when you only write something every couple of weeks.

But it was when I came to acknowledging my beautiful wife that words failed me most and I blithered on with a crack in my voice. The sense of what a significant moment in our lives this was meant that my brain was simultaneously simpering and squalling, cooing and caterwauling. But that's alright, I think. My feelings for my wife should never, all being well, be less than a maelstrom of thoughts that I can't easily express.

8 comment(s):

Radge said...

Great. As are the wife's words.

Janelle said...

fantastic post. laughed my head off and said aw a lot...and deeply relieved that some other teacher of adolescents wings it so brazenly. phew. phew. x j

Tessa said...

Gawd, you two need to get a room. Oh. Wait ...

Seriously, lovely stuff, Andrew.

Conor said...

I like Heaney talking about the beautiful Flaggy Shore in Clare:

"As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open"

Makes me think of falling in love.

Also, it's brilliant now that you can use "wife". You must be revelling in it.

Rosie said...

i liked your guitar poem.

/wifey comment

Jo said...

Oh, I had that very same winging/fucking up/remembering for days what I meant to say experience.

Sigh. Weddings...

Enjoy your continuing honeymoon, young newlyweds!

Blazing said...

Oh, sorry I missed it Andrew. You've got it bad, as they say. Brilliant! I'm pleased for you both.

Andrew said...

My apologies for taking so long to respond to comments. I'd love to offer an excuse, but I'm really just a lazy, ill-mannered oik.

Radge - Thanks. Hers were, mine weren't.

Janelle - Yep, I know no other way but to wing it. I've got it down to a fine art these days.

Tessa - We do, and we did.

Conor - Thanks, I hadn't heard that one. With regards to the 'wife' thing, I find that the difference is that if you tell someone you can't make it somewhere because you're doing something with your wife then they nod understandingly, whereas if you say 'girlfriend' they start to make the 'under the thumb' gesture. It's odd.

Rosie - Someone had to.

Jo - you made a speech at yours. Rosie stayed well out of that side of things, and I can't say I blame her.

Blazing - Cheers. Still, we got married between football seasons. Give it a few weeks...