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- Poem of the Month 2007-2015
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- The Merchant of Lynn's Tale
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November 26, 2011
'So you, you say you wanna be married...' (Hendrix)
We're not the teen-dream lovers of the songs
And films n’ soaps n’ mills n' boons n’ ads,
The 'hunters' living with their mums and dads,
The twenty-something dramas, dinging-dongs,
The sizzling catalogues of straps and thongs,
The Darcys, Juliets and golden lads
In modern strip from tales in which the cads
Are fifty-odd like us and cause all wrongs.
Our story didn't end like these above
In frozen celebrations, wedding-deaths;
We've raised a daughter into Now and Next,
We're grownups grown together, more or less,
Our romance is a realistic text:
A dangerous, married, grail-quest of true love.
Notes: If I hadn't been so happily married, I would probably have written much better poems about it. It's a bit like being the 'official' poet of something. You write worthily and triumphantly but not with the aching heart that Yeats tells us creates a changeless work of art. It's a bothersome thought that most of the masterpieces come out of suffering the pangs of love rather than enjoying a 32nd anniversary dinner: the Taj Mahal, almost every pop song worthy of the name (Hendrix's 50th Anniversary, all of Elvis Costello, Sinatra's torch songs for Ava Gardner, Lennon's 'Girl' rather than his mature - and soppy - 'Woman' etc), Romeo and Juliet, Leila and Majnu, Lancelot and Guinevere, Paradise Lost Books 1 and 2, Inferno (which for all its doom beats Paradiso as a work of art every time). Our culture is much better at visions of hell and purgatory than heaven. That's what's wrong with it. Luckily as far as my own creative work is concerned I have the twenty three years before marrying Melanie and most of what happened at work after doing so to provide the spur to the Pegasus flank and fly. All that said, this effort, my favourite from an annual anniversary sequence abandoned at 50, conveys something of the ongoing spur of marriage. After all, as a Sikh once told me on a train to Mumbai, marriage is not the wedding or the honeymoon or even the next 32 years: it's the work of a lifetime.