Friday, May 15, 2009

The Oak Tree and the Cypress

As alluded to in the previous post, my sister and Dave asked me to read this poem at their wedding: On Marriage by Khalil Gibran.

Though it is popular, I hadn't really heard of it, and as I practiced it over and over again, I grew to appreciate it deeply. I loved its jazzy dissonance against the traditional parts of the ceremony: here is a poem from the 1920s, written by a Lebanese-American, that has both elements of celebration and warning within it. When reading it, I tried to accent the text in such a way that balanced that tension in the poem.

Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.

I remember being being stunned at how the author had nailed an idea that I had barely considered. Though I have a few different aesthetics that I admire as a lifelong union, this one is close to a personal manifesto. There were several readings at the nuptials: I wondered if my sister paired me with this particular one as some kind of Buddhist message. ("See? There is a middle way.") Or perhaps because it fit rather well: my own personal narrative and experience, as the scarred embodiment of caution. (Of course, any rationale was probably more personal to the couple's style than 'me', as it should be.)

10 years later, I have some new perspectives on it, naturally. But, for now, that stays with me. Maybe more on my birthday.

ps. Binky, am I correct that this was a reading at your wedding?

(Readers, 'Supermom' is a dear cousin to my sister and I, and especially close to my sister growing up. She and Binky married 12 years ago. We're very lucky to have him as well.)


K. said...

I thought of using one of his writings in our wedding. We ended up using "A Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and "Blessing for a Marriage" by James Dillet Freeman. Both had similar sentiments to Gabron - let their be spaces in your togetherness.

Freeman says "May you always need one another -
not so much to fill your emptiness
as to help you to know your fullness"

and Lindbergh talks about love: "Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic love first, then a slow-growing devotion and, playing through these, a constantly rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties, and interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts; of triumphs and disappointments. "

CaptainCanuck said...

Thanks for sharing, K... great quotes

As a post-script to the post, I was packing for the upcoming move and found the thank-you note that my sister and Dave sent, almost 10 years to the day of the wedding. My sister explicitly mentioned my reading.