Friday, November 21, 2008

A little poetry --

The Wife
I know two women
and the one
is tangible substance,
flesh and bone.

The other in my mind
She keeps her strict
proportion there.

But how should I

propose to live
with two such creatures
in my bed--

or how shall he
who has a wife
yield two to one
and watch the other die.

Robert Creeley from For Love
art: Hotel Room, 1931 Edward Hopper

To always be die a million deaths and to be brought back to life. That is marriage. That is the supreme struggle of merging of two souls, two bodies. We begin marriage holding the other as an ideal, as an archetype. We see in the object of our passion a chiseled torso of unchanging marble. We hold that ideal other close to our hearts. And yet time, and experience, and sorrow, and children up all hours of the night, and dinners to fix, and overtime again this week cause us to change and morph--oftentimes without even knowing that we are becoming or unbecoming . The temptation which is ever present for the lover, is to love the ideal-rather than who is...because in marriage she who is, is oftentimes grumpy and unattractive and so far away from the vibrant being she was before the weight of it all has become hers to shoulder day in and day out.

In marriage there is death. There is death to self, there is death to the other, there is death to dreams, and hopes. It is not by necessity a fatalistic death--as the aim is to die and be resurrected into better life, fuller and more deeply satisfying; a life which yields to the very best person one has been created to be. But so often the beloved- only dies. She never grieves. She never even recognises that she has died. And so, there is no afterlife, no second coming, no new creation. She surrenders all claim to her life unto others-her children, her aging parents, the PTA and twenty different worthy groups and charities. As well, the lover so often cannot make sense of this death. He cannot rectify his Grecian bust with this tangle-haired woman lying beside him. He fails to recognise what he feels as the process of grieving, or the depth of grief is too immense- and so he crawls back within himself. And there is nothing new.

This poem is a call to have the guts to recognise death in our midst. To view the overwhelming sorrow squarely in the face, and not to turn away--but to feel, feel, feel the loss and the despair. We must choose at some point between the ideal, and the actual, and then just endure as we grieve that loss-and if our marriage will be a vibrant permanence--we must grieve with the hope of the something better on the other side of the pain- even though me cannot see it now.


  1. So far, I'm really liking your blog. Keep up the good work!


  2. Aww- I am so pleased you've been reading [blush}

  3. Wow! True and sad stuff. Great Blog, btw, Shannon.

    Cheers, Stephen!

  4. Well Stephen- I know it is kind of sad--but I don't think it necessarily needs to be. We weep....and then if we don't hide, we are born anew--and that is an awesome thing!

    (Thanks for reading ((((hug))) )