Wedding at Ward 35
For the wedding of Wendy Holliday and Eric Hinds*
For a symbol of love’s endurance
Look to your wedding rings
The continuous, unbroken token
Of love’s lasting life.
That love which banns allow.
Whatever you hold to: complex gods,
Or simple love, each other, or each day
Hold to it today.
When wedding bells ringing
Intermingle with a sadder sound.
I look to my brother,
Writing a quick speech
Gathering a slow wit.
The best man deadpans about bedpans.
I look to my father,
Farther from sorrow than he should be.
I look to a bride,
Nearer to him now, dearer to us.
Today the thing borrowed is time –
Spent prudently, buys an eternity.
The thing blue – scrubs and feelings
Freshened by tears.
And something new – a new last name
And the old first thing: Love.
*I read this poem aloud at the wedding of my father and Wendy Holliday on the 20th of July 2019 at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, as part of my best man’s speech (a position which I shared with my twin brother). Wendy died of cancer on the 9th of August 2019 and this poem was read again at her funeral, this time by my father.