custom and ceremony

worshippers©papa osmubal

worshippers©papa osmubal

custom and ceremony
barbara rendall

                                 July 10, 1999

Outside,
The summer sky, steady and grand
As a high blue sail,
Bears this day forward,
All happiness held in its curve–

Inside, tall candles
Balance the equation of light
And among the assembled guests
Memories are lifted gently
From soft places of repose
Along with heirloom jewelry and boutonnieres,

And all through the afternoon
The daisies, the lilies, the wild roses
Banked at the altar, gracing beribboned pew-ends,
Resting on bridesmaids’ arms,
Open to their fullest
One after another,
A small miracle recorded in photo after photo;

Everything moves toward fulfillment
As custom and ceremony join hands
To do the honors,
Bidding in love and wildflowers
From the woods and the fields
For this short time in a quiet, thoughtful place.

After the rites and rituals–
World-changing, strangely brief–
They step out, solemnized, into the rest of their lives,
Onto grass dense to its tips with greenness,
Into an ancient shower of petals and seeds,
Spoken and unspoken wishes raining down;

Higher,
The air is filled with the ringing of bells
In accompaniment to their full inheritance,
The depths of joy
Stashed in the oldest details of our days.

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