Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Seventy Years Married

Today in 1945, in a Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois, my parents laughed, smiled, dressed in their finest, and, surrounded by family and friends they exchanged wedding vows. This poem honors their marriage of 70 years.

Seventy Years Married

I remember the photo
stark in black and white,
young promises exchanged
before God and family,

held steady for seventy years
and counting.

On that day, he wore army issued
olive-drab, wool garments, pressed
shirt, polished shoes and a peaked cap
over a full head of thick black hair

his face covered by a boyish grin
ready to conquer the world.

She wore white, her wavy brown hair
cascading across shoulders caressed
by soft fabric, bodice angled to reveal
a silver cross draped around her neck,

face tilted towards his, deep dimples
enhanced by her joy-filled smile.

Sisters, brothers, parents, aunts,
uncles and multitudes of friends
gathered in the church, tossed rice
afterward, celebrations of family

long-life, many children, they danced,
drank, laughed, sang until night called.

Seventy years of marriage, a maze
of fascinating corridors, dead-ends,
children, camping, financial struggles,
long hours, sickness, health, disruptions,

arguments, forgiveness, shared adventures,
memories made, memories kept, faith

or something akin to that deep commitment
kept them together while all the marriages
of their children dissolved, steadfast
in their desire to help and assist others

and now, bonded in difficult times, stroke's effects
stealing her from him but he won't leave her side.

Seventy years and counting. Not many marriages
manage a promise this long and strong.

by judy Beaston
September 29, 2015