Parallel Streams

It’s difficult to explain, really, except to just come out and say it: I went to a wedding and a funeral in the same weekend, at the same place, with the same people. Our community has lifted the bar on elation and hollowed the bottoms of sorrow in a series of heart-full sighs.

I reel away, haunted by parallel streams: The bride and groom’s commitment ’till death do us part. The parting caused by death and subsequent broken hearts. The feast of celebration for the bride and groom’s new life together. The feast to celebrate each silver sliver that remains of Sherrill’s influence on hundreds of friends and family. The huddling of clouds and crashing of thunder for hours that halted just before the outdoor wedding ceremony. The parting of clouds from a grey morning, allowing the sun to illuminate the outdoor memorial service.

The two events intersect with community, where support is both found and founded. I search for a poem at the close of the weekend to try and ground myself. Here is what I find:

I WISH US BACK TO MUD by Peter Balakian from “June-Tree: New and Selected Poems 1974-2000”

I wish us back to mud
as November light
falls on the rotting wood
and vines in piles by the shed.

May we resolve what we can’t
say in the night when we lie
together without reason
and can’t receive the grace

we imagine on the hills.
I wish us back to mud
for scouring rush and blue-
eyed grass have gone before us.

May we know the color
of our blood is mud
and that we’re inevitable
as chicory and wild carrot.

I wish us back to mud
for love that asks us
to be free of nothing
and nothing to be free of us.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.