Weight of a Man

Ok, this is going to sound strange, but I think Russell Crowe would make an excellent wedding singer. If that sounds like slight praise, it’s not how I mean it. I like his singing voice, and I love the song “Weight of a Man.” I’m not too sure about marriage, maybe not for me, but the wedding would be awesome with that song. I guess I’m more like other girls after all, planning a wedding for which I don’t have a groom in mind.

What’s so special about the song is the way it emphasizes fortitude in a committed relationship as being what you have to look forward to, and not the sort of challenge that’s going to blindside you in the middle of the honeymoon. One of my favorite love stories in a movie shows how love can blossom out of the test of time, and not simply withstand it. The relationship between John Rolfe and Rebecca in The New World is rocky from the start, but they want to support each other and rely on each other in the midst of the hardship of letting love back into their lives after great loss. And only when their marriage has been tested to the utmost do they truly know what they have. Falling in love, in my mind, is a pretty way of describing attraction, pursuit and success. Love itself comes later.

I see a shoreline in the wilderness beyond your gaze,
a refuge for the stranded where the gathering of days
is restful, not depleting, and the eye is rested, too,
a wanderer perceiving home, a welcome that rings true.
The color of this shoreline is covered by a night sky,
but it stops me and steals my breath. I cannot help but try
to reach you in your humane estrangement from language and belief.
I see in you a miraculous joy concealed by grief.
To return you to words, to be believed by you, to hold
you in silence when words are only the beginning, fold
your feelings in with mine, to sustain your gaze and release
your posture toward the world, would bring me back to joy and peace.
You could tell me whether I have found my home, you could wear
a mysterious smile. If in clasping your heavy hair
and drawing you in like a child from the cold I have shown
I am kind, you are also a woman. You are alone.
Your gentleness conceals your depth; passionate, impulsive,
you remade landscapes with a fellowship of your heart, live
above the laws of your people, make gifts of prized secrets,
answer to a nation of ghosts with unspoken regrets.
You are a survivor, but you are a sleepwalker, too.
I see in you a loss that dwarfs my own, and I see you.
No emerald shifts through the embraces the sun throws like coins
with the subtlety of your dark, dazzling eyes, enjoins
a man to leave all else behind with greater clarity,
or fits the hand with a more sculpted surface, parity
in every facet, equally smooth on every side, fluid.
Your smile shines forth like a mountain above the tree line, nude.
I would see your light thrust toward the sky, I would have you bring
life into this world. When I say you will love me come spring,
I do not mean next spring. I mean you will, when your shoreline
sees the dawn of subtle colors where the stars so dimly
showed the earth its bearings in the universe, suddenly
knowing the white flowers of blackberry thickets from pink
trillium, purple wisteria and bright yellow cinque.
Your forest flowers in the overarching night and now
only the bright wood aster shines in its right light. I vow
the sun will find your refuge in my home, and on your lips
my name will not be one of those who came on the war ships.
We will forget our countries and our work will be an act
of mysticism, bringing life to fields to see the sun refract
the dew on bending leaves as sacred as the soil; the plough
will turn the rows as gravely as knives bend to altars, now
an instrument of making, now a weapon toward the earth.
In our green monument to life we will have a rebirth.

I’ll be your confidant, your sheltering shoulder, as true
in the breach, unafraid to die for you, honoring you
for the rest of your life, a husband and passionate friend.
Through every anger and unsleeping night, I will attend
to your conscience, your heart and your soul. They are different,
but I would have all of you satisfied. I would cement
your happiness in your life, guard it from every falsehood.
But in your dear memories there is an anguish I could
not spare you or see you relive in resisting its tide.
Now I must allow you to ask for what you were denied.
I’ve left behind everything I ever knew, I’ve burned up,
consumed in the fever your smiles wring from the soul, my cup
is eternal and I have returned from the dead, but here,
attuned to your language, surrounded by gardens, I fear
for my reverence in a confusion of pain. I knew
you once, beholding our son. Everything inside of you
came alive and to the surface in one quiescent smile.
Do you despise our marriage now? I must stand back, but I’ll
remember what I promised you the day we took our vows.
I’ll hold you tight if you need me, strong as your great tree’s boughs.
If you release me forever, my home is starless night.
Give me a life to live, and I’ll become the man whose right
and place is by your side. I’ll listen for your voice, as soft
as the wind in the forest and as gently borne aloft
on the limbs of the echoing trees, your cathedral, high
as the world daunting sky and as haunted and taunted by
sacrilegious birds full of sentiment and worldliness.
In awe of their noise, you shine in sentience, my goddess,
once a princess, now alive. I’ll keep true to your conscience,
I’ll be kind to your heart. I’ll honor your beautiful, tense
and buoyantly diving soul, bounding and boundless and bright.
Tell me we belong together, that we survived the night.

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Filed under Music, Poetry

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