Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A poem for my wife on her birthday

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a poem for [Jen](http://thispile.com) that I delivered as a spoken word piece at a party we threw for her birthday. She turned 36. Imagine the delivery described [here](http://www.thispile.com/archives/because-im-missing-him-terribly-this-week) applied to the words below the picture and you will get the idea…

Jen at the Whistle Stop in Renton

— For Jen on her 72nd Birthday —

We are gathered here for
Jen on her 72nd birthday
We are looking back, less from the middle
and more from the end

We are pushing back, we are going back, way back
We are pushing back, we are going back, way back

Back to the afternoon when the blond girl
Killed that first spider on behalf of her mother
Both of them dancing the sacred spider death dance
Oh no it’s gonna get me
Oh no it’s gonna get me
We are saved, we are saved
It’s OK, it’s OK

Back to the boy and his sword
Who commanded Monsters, Monsters, Oh no, it’s a Monster
Who commanded Monsters out from
That beanpole teepee
His dirt face high pitch grin
Wound a light through the darkness that summer

Those were the days of that old car of ours
With the dent in the fender
That we always intended to fix
(but secretly never wanted to)
The one with that swaggering headlight
That became a sort of family compass
Reminding us of what it meant to wrestle angels
(Do you remember when we wrestled angels?)

That was the afternoon she took the scissors to the coasters
The one when she took shears to her blond locks
It was about 3pm when she stared us straight in the eye
And dared us to forgive as ones who have been forgiven much
That afternoon where midnight began

It was the evening he took the markers and the crayons
To everything in sight
The walls, the chairs, the windows, and the television
The walls, the chairs, the windows, and the television
He colored away all doubters that the rhythm of Adam
Had skipped skipped skipped a beat beat beat

It was the morning that that computer crashed
Like Moses smashing those tablets in his anger
He reduced them to sand and used it to cover all sorts of bodies
Hoping no one no one no one would ever find them
(and while no one ever did, he always thought of them
when he paced that beach, desert, beach, desert, beach, desert…)

Yes, yes — that’s it, I can tell you remember those middle days
As we look back and we recognize now
What was less than clear at the time

That those “I have a great idea” moments
All boiled down to a few constant things

That this life is always a wrestling of angels, angels, angels
That this walk always comes with a limp, a limp, a limp
That this gait always establishes a rhythm, a rhythm, a rhythm

Of loving as ones who have been loved much
Of grace doled out to both the kissers and the betrayers
That is the day we began to recognize
The rhythm of an Imagination not our own

So raise a glass to Jen on her
Seventy seventy seventy second birthday
And toast with me to the beauty of a life well lived
To the beauty of a wife well loved