Vox Populi

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Michael Simms: The Marriage-Bed

For Eva

The marriage-bed is the center of happiness

a point from which all things ripple outward,

a nest from which all things learn to fly.

It is the sign of return, part of the great rhythm

of the seasons, and of the years.

It is the dream of return, the strength and faith

that sing of home.

It is the wren’s nest woven of twigs and string,

the swallow’s nest of saliva and mud.

It is what we return to, as migratory birds

passing over marshes and fields

dream of the end of the journey.

It is what frightens night-devils away,

even in winter.

It is the tree that grows through the house,

the hollow of the tree that has never known death.

It is the crystal of all feeling, the flower of all

understanding, the small containing the large.

It is the nautilus growing its many chambers of love.

It is the sudden outburst of one who has long been silent

It is the idea that a calla lily can be shaped

like a wineglass on a long green stem.

It is the heart-stone.

It is the name of all names

that thinks it is a star and a rose.

It is a conch-shell rough on the outside,

pearly in its intimacy.

It is a snail rolling over and over

building a staircase.

It is an animal, an almond, a repose.

It is an oyster opening in the full of the moon.

It is a mouth telling a secret.

It is a kiln where clay battles fire.

It is the simple happiness of sleeping on a boat.

These are the walls we’ve pressed back into a circle

in the shape of our merged bodies.

And it will take a long time for the waves

spreading from the center of our intimacy

to reach the ends of the world.

Copyright 2018 Michael Simms. All rights reserved.

This poem was published in Texas Monthly and read by Garrison Keillor on national radio as part of  The Writer’s Almanac.


Wisconsin whooping cranes mate for life.

4 comments on “Michael Simms: The Marriage-Bed

  1. loranneke
    April 5, 2020

    It is the nautilus growing its many chambers of love.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. charliebrice2017
    April 22, 2018

    Wonderful tribute and witness to an enduring and endearing relationship!

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2018 by in Environmentalism, Note from the Editor, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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