In the poetry slot this Sunday: a poem inspired by Alan Watts’ wedding vows as read by my friend and publishing colleague Jane Friedman, author mentor, publishing columnist and one of the people I most admire in the writing and publishing business.
I actually wrote this poem a long time ago (It’s in my collection Keepers) but I sent it to Jane on an impulse when I saw a post on her Instagram feed: her and Mark, her new husband, performing a simple ceremony at home among loved ones, with Jane reading Alan Watts’ vows from her phone.
The vows were adapted from Watts autobiography, In My Own Way, in which he tells the captivating story of his life, and also dispenses much timeless wisdom on travel, child-rearing, art, living spaces and, yes, marriage.
I just love everything about that marriage photo of Jane’s: that she and Mark are marrying after knowing each other for 20 years and being a couple for nine, that she is reading from her phone, that she is reading Watts and his beautiful thoughts.
I will not into marriage with projects for improving you. Growth may happen, or it may not. Either way, you are not a problem to be solved but my partner in experience.
I will never pretend to a love I do not actually feel and, since love is not ours to command, I do not require love from you as duty.
I will not cling to you so as to commit mutual strangulation. You are not my property, and I grant you full freedom to be the person that you are, or may eventually become.
So in the same spirit, here it is, this week’s inspirational poetry: Showerings. My adaptation of an ancient Irish blessing.
And for you.
May the blessing
of the soft rains
be on your house.
May they seep into its clay,
that its flowers might spring,
shedding sweetness on the air.
be on your house.
May they beat upon its door,
washing clear and leaving
many a pool behind
where the blue of heaven can shine,
and sometimes too a star.
as it rises
find you gentle
with each other
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If you already do support, then a deep bow.
Thank you. Sonas mór leat. Namaste.