April 15, 2009

Dave and Helen's Wedding

“The best wedding since ours, “ I say, and I mean it.
Even a breakdown and a lift home on a truck with an AA angel
Called Dave (was it you I wonder?) could not stop us.
A union of high theatre and real marriage.
Out of a cloudy April, a sudden brilliant summer
Falls straight from heaven onto Bishamption
And lasts all day and all starry evening,
(For one day only!)
The perfect lighting for the tulip-brilliant dresses
And beautiful costumes of all these people
Who have made up your amazing elusive life.
The high church vicar who started in the army
And then went into marketing and then found the church
(Cheerfully counting out fivers into his pocket from yours
Just before the holy starts rolling)
And now combines high humour with pointed, solemn
Endearingly detailed interpretations of the stage set.
Then the casually tip-top professional music concert as you exit
Into the vestry to sign the papers; then the Irish jig
That had us crazily clapping you out of church,
The sense of an entire village (with a Jane Austen church at the heart)
Revolving around your modern love story and its happy ending,
The sixth formers handing out canap├ęs and smiling
Like these first sixth formers, your peers, I’m meeting again
From my first school at the other side of a dead career.
Your lucky streak continuing like the complete croupier you once were
To include every aspect of the meal and venue
And indeed half of Worcestershire by the time it ended;
The brilliant soul band with 1930s mikes and Aretha-red suits.
Even as I use my index finger as a temporary hinge
In a slammed door jamb of pain beyond pain (or any sensation
For the following days) I can’t help laughing.
We all got married with you two, those words come true
And everything with them, when the bride and groom mean them.

Everything organised to perfection to appear effortless,
Like the best poetry.

Even the accidental riverboat sailing under Eckingham Bridge
And over its brilliant sun-painted reflection
Joined in: its shining swan-white prow and name:
Welded Bliss. I gave my heart
- We all did – to the bride, but, ludicrously,
It was the groom I actually dance with.

All of us are dancing with both of you now
I think we may be dancing forever.