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On This Rich Ground

Winter 2016 - Vol. 58, No. 1

 

This poem appears in the Winter 2016 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.


 

For the Wedding of JL and DP
 September 21, 2013

On this rich ground
Where the vines promise
To visit upon us
Fruit for wine presses,
We gather round,
In decorous colors,
In ties and collars
And formal dresses.

We stand upright
And speak in words
Carefully discerned,
Given fitting measure.
For, though at night,
Wild thoughts in the deep
Unravel our sleep,
These bring no pleasure.

It pleases, rather,
In wakefulness
To praise and bless
What grows and gives
To thoughtless matter
Its purposes.
As Genesis says
All that lives

Fulfills itself
In those who turn
To another and learn
To live as one,
Self given to self,
Voice answering voice.
So we rejoice
To see this done,

To witness this day
Take on new meaning
In the convening
Of two who love.
Though words pass away
Like autumn weather,
They bind forever
What’s below and above.

 

James Matthew Wilson’s most recent books are Some Permanent Things and The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry. He reaches in the Department of Humanities at Villanova University.