Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An "After-Valentines" Valentine

From my good friend Orson Scott Card:

Well Paired Team

You don't arrive at marriage, lonely hearts.
The wedding's where the lifelong journey starts,
Forced to travel with a clumsy fool
Or trot along behind a receding dream
(You had to stop and help me when I tripped,
While you would never stick to my passionate script),
Using one another like an ill-made tool,
Like ox and antelope yoked in a single team.
And yet . . . somehow, together, we managed to pull
An empty cart straight uphill;
And look--the creaking, rickety thing is full
Of crockery, old rags, a child or two.

At the start, knowing nothing, we said, 'I will,'
And now look at all the things I made with you,
All our baggage, all our breakage, art
By unskilled artisans, yet beautiful,
Yours and mine, no matter how peculiar;
New and strange, no matter how familiar.
Some passages were merely dutiful.
Who could know, on our ignorant starting day
That, pulling such a long and weary way,
The man, the woman, strangers side by side,
Would end the trek inside each other's heart,
Trading forgiveness and repentances,
Finishing each other's sentences,
Only to be stranded,
The team--for now at least--disbanded.
Now we see how all the road maps lied:
Our destination was the yoke we shared,
Badly at first, but by the end well paired.
And only when you died did I leave my home
And pointlessly, empty-carted roam.
You don't arrive at marriage, lonely hearts.
The wedding's where the lifelong journey starts.


Aaron H. said...

I'm a fan.

Jo Jo said...

That's a great poem, thanks for sharing. Is he really your friend?