I was deeply honoured to be asked to read a poem as part of my sister’s wedding ceremony in Sydney last weekend. The reception was held at one of Australia’s oldest glasshouses, the ceremony on the lawn outside beneath a beautiful old fig. It was a memorable day with good people, and I’m very glad I was there for it. Wishing my sister and her new husband all the best on their next big adventure—I know they’ll land on their feet in New York.
EDIT (21/5/17): I should add (and should have acknowledged!) that the poem owes a debt for one of its phrases to Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, which begins “Go placidly amid the noise and haste…” I read it today for the first time in years and can see other resemblances, though the poem grew out of an interview with my sister and events leading up to the wedding.
One Day in April
The Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens
From small suburbs & grand canyons to a city greenhouse,
We gather like gardeners on a well-fashioned lawn
To witness & to share a moment long remembered.
Look around, listen, friends & family of Pat, Patricia, Trish
Of Lynch & Leahy, and Michael John of Noonan, Russell, Sydney.
In the last-minute rush of airports & escalators, smart phones,
Status updates, how easy to forget we’re really here. I remember
How my sister said that she & Michael, no matter where or which way
They’re going, always embrace on escalators—a suspended, stolen
Moment of calm & clarity amid the noise. I know it’s corny, she said,
And I recognised the thought—our world so quick
To cut down sentiment, economise, increase efficiency—
But what is love if not a thousand tiny habits such as this,
Watered daily by others or just one, like a quiet gardener
Tending to the small but growing forest of a greenhouse?
So listen. Talk. Drink water, drink wine. One day
We’ll look back & remember how we were, here
On the lawn, beneath the branches.