Epithalamion

FOR KIRBY THOMPSON HALL
SEPTEMBER 13, 1952

Now she comes moving on the whirling aisle.
I praise her beauty now
Who tall and pale comes moving on the aisle,
Erect, whose hands allow
No motion but of love and dignity,
And stay the shuddering sea;
Whose stateliness
Protects a wilderness
Of joy.
And I,
Witnessing by this marriage Kirby made
Most beautiful,
Grow in my strength as storm- and sea-winds fade,
For on the bed of love the heroes play
Who are the poem of our wedding day.

Yet we are parted by our humanness,
Not touching hand to hand.
We do not stand
In full reflection of another face
But haunt in singularity
An unfamiliar place,
Lost from all station in reality.
And now within the whirling church
Comes chaos swinging from the dark;
We cannot halt such vertigo to search
A solid mark.
No. It is by choice and form
We build defenses from the storm,
Imposed upon vacuities of space.
And so we summon heroes who must say
They are the poem of our wedding day.

Out of the whirling images and sound,
They march to take our names,
Whose formal feet attend the formal ground,
Who play our games.
We all must choose
Moments of light to flash against the screen,
And build, not lose,
The planned and formal characters we mean.
By form and fashion, we
Have come from the incomprehensible sea
To this hard shore.
Though irony marks the mind’s unwilling core,
We in our formal character
Will live together.
So let our heroes laugh, and let them play,
And waltz together on our wedding day.

-Donald Hall