Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Erie Wedding Day

I have apologized many times for my awkward, overly sentimental, pseudo poetry...most substantially, here. But we just went on a 'vacation' that took us across the country by plane, to 3 states, 6 different sleeping arrangements, 2 weddings, >700 driving miles with a 2 year old and a 6 month old produced many frazzled moments, many fine memories, giga-bytes of pictures and a poem. Here is the poem:

An Erie Wedding Day

I usually forget that I’m Italian,
though only one generation removed
from Apennine grapes
and German bombs.

But for Erie weddings
I’d simply default
to my Father’s line,
American since Bradford…of the Mayflower.

To me, Erie is the most Italian place on earth.

Today I’m Italian.
The summer wedding
of the youngest daughter
of four immigrant sisters.

The last wedding of a generation.
Next time it will be a funeral.

The cavernous nave of St. Pete’s
half full with affection,
the artistic making
of a generation born an ocean away.

Steal money earned the hard way,
carefully saved, proudly given
in a cultural moment
when one’s prized things
were held in common
in a great stone building
on 10th and Sassafras.

Peter’s translucent form
looks on, engulfed by the tumult
of an unnaturally blue sea.

Other beatific figures
also stand silent, spectral witness
rendered anonymous
by narrative vacuum...

twice martyrs
the cumulative calcareous carcasses
declare God’s glory
through the death of one and millions.

A spattering of communicants
step forward to receive the host
dodging reverse traffic
of toddlers deprived of naps.

Prayers are offered for the dead.
I am startled to hear the name of my Father.
I don’t pray for the dead.
Luther wouldn’t approve…
Calvin even less.
But as the priest intones
a request that they join us
at the eschaton’s great reception
I feel the wet wind
of an ‘Amen’ pass my lips.

Great wedding bells chime
but are twice drowned
by the sound of sirens
in a cacophony of joy and pain.
I can think of no purer symbol
of the life that awaits the bright young couple.

Picture Credits: Spire & Statue

This post was written while listening to: Pachelbel’s Canon

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