That all the woods may answer, and your echo ring. — Edmund Spenser

Like the feet that root deep to walk the ground
with circling steps that no one of us can hear,
or the leaves that die just to coil down
through lost blossoms and wait to reappear-
as the stamen, pistil and fragrant dust
sing with the pollen’s trust,
as each fruit that drips down the earth’s strong chin
spills new sugar over an ancient face-
we all hold seeds that vibrate alive within,
and every hardened pod pulls the world’s embrace
from a new hiding place.

Marriage is a field where the earth’s old skin
stretches and releases its fertile seeds,
lending patterns to couples. They begin
as shadowed furrows. Then every sowing leads
time-fed opposites, soaked in day and night,
to reach each others’ height.
Goddess and god of weddings, help this pair
pair with abundance, to open seeds alive
with each leaf they send through the long beauty.
Form them with the roots and the care to thrive.
Harvest them, where they strive.

Let this body make a body of bodies, cool
time to marry new answers, quicken warm
heartbeats to loud meetings, rollings, spool-
ing the lost space anchored only by love’s vast charm,
till pools of hope and kiss and remembering meet,
crossed in a sculpting heat.
Enter, oh, enter the language of your skins,
where motion mentions silence, and words spill light
over the actual air; let your touch begin
spinning separate souls in one open flight
back to the real delight.

Then feel yourselves how the bluejay, eagle, swallows,
cardinal, doves and finches, sparrows, terns,
move with long-held wings, find the surge that follows,
dips, fills, rises to pour back up and burns
through warm mornings (or brief songs with trees,
as forests darken to ease-)
how fox, moose, crocodile and koala bear,
elephant, cheetah, deer and cat and squirrel
cry with single breaths until they may pair,
ears and mouths poured open while bodies skirl
towards the enspiralled whirl.

And you’ll reach, with the meanings that humans bid
two more minds to touch from balanced pairs-
intersection of line to pyramid,
uncornered circling, edging angles, squares-
long paradoxes, shaped in geometry’s
aisled community.
Goddess and god of weddings, bend your strength
over your weaving promises and go
past the edges of partnership, through the lengths
of the days that are moving us, fast or slow,
from everything we know.

ringing, ready, certain to move with love,
salt and sweet and spiralling open worlds,
holding, braided, careful, the voices of
desire and honor. Reach for your unfurled
openness to rock through the earth again, to come,
new and empty, among
every creature. Then keep a steady song,
sounding the ways that marriage, compassion’s tool,
rough strong teacher of joy, right-gathering wrong,
oldest puzzle, simple yet tangled rule,
moves, in each molecule.

Goddess and god, make marriage. Take your hands
in the sight of these people and the earth,
and one bird finds rest in a valleyed cove,
and more birds take flight in new kinds of birth.
Touch your hands. Touch words. Oh, now turn and bless
each with that happiness-
your family, earth, friends, guests and the binding day.
Open us with a heart to hear every test,
brave to reach everything we will need to say,
strong to hold our silences, find our rest-
wise, to believe love best.

Annie Finch

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A Wedding on Earth by Annie Finch
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