Anniversary Poem

Today is my 36th wedding anniversary. Bob Dylan was right: Time IS a jet plane; it moves too fast. I wrote this poem a bazillion years ago, inspired by my parents’ long marriage, and it was published in a long-since-defunct journal called Plainswoman. I’m sharing it now in honor of my husband Bruce. Back when I wrote it, we had been married less than 10 years. Like anyone, we’ve been through a couple of bumps but were lucky enough to get through to the other side. I finally get what Mark Twain said about no man or woman knowing what perfect love is until they’ve been married a quarter of a century. We celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary two days after my mastectomy and it was one of the sweetest anniversaries we’ve ever had. As I said in my book, going through something like this together makes marriage worth the price of admission.

But there’s another reason I’m sharing this poem. Melissa Travis, a.k.a. @DrSnit, who writes the wonderful Chronic Snarkopolis column on the Dear Thyroid blog, has been tweeting and writing some lovely things about vulnerability, and about hearts healing like bodies heal. That made me remember my poem and gave me the courage to continue inching my way out of the poetry closet by sharing it. It’s one thing to have something out there in a little print journal with small readership. It’s quite another to put yourself out there online for the world to see. So thank you, Melissa. And happy anniversary to my BFF Bruce.

Anniversary Poem
                                -for Mom and Dad

Our parents mend what we would throw away.
A bit of flannel shirt becomes a quilt
that keeps us warm. A scrap of denim
saved against a day when knees
on best-loved pairs of jeans wear out;
too good to throw away.

A scrap of kindness also tucks away
to make another kind of quilt.
Love is like flannel,
too good to throw away
simply because it frays around the edges.
Thrift allows the patience to assume
that hearts can heal and mend as well
as worn-out favorite jeans.
These patchwork hearts will see another day.
Our parents mend what we would throw away.

©2011 Jackie Fox


15 thoughts on “Anniversary Poem

  1. Oh, Jackie, this is lovely. Thanks so much for sharing. It really is a meaningful message too. Congrats on the anniversary and keep those poems coming!

  2. Happy Anniverserary Jackie – it is a wonderful thing to celebrate when a couple has been together this long. Being still only a newly wed of 3 years and finding that the adjustment to married life has not always been easy..well kudos to you both. And what a gorgeous poem and it is particularly poignant for me as I watch my father take on the role of caretaker of my mother during her illness. They’ve been married over 40 years and she has always taken care of him, but now that she is ill, he has taken on the role without complaint and with a tenderness and love I had never witnessed before.

    • Thank you so much, Marie. I’m glad you like the poem and thank you for sharing your thoughts on marriage. There definitely is an adjustment period. But there are also wonderful moments of discovery. I remember walking down the hall whistling “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess one day after we’d been married about three years and Bruce just stopped in his tracks & said “What IS that?” and I found out he also really liked that song! And you can still keep discovering things about each other. Just like you’re discovering new things about your dad. I’m sorry your mom is going through illness but what a blessing he is there to care for her. Illness brings out the best or worst in people and it sounds like it brought out the best in your dad (it did the same thing with Bruce during my breast cancer treatment. He was pretty amazing.) Best wishes to your mom and dad, and to you and your husband!

  3. Pingback: Friday Round-Up « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  4. Beautiful post and poem! Congratulations on reaching your 36th wedding anniversary. Ours comes up in October. Hard to believe all those years have gone by. We have weathered two bouts with my breast cancer during those years: in 1996 and 2003. We don’t look back if we can help it.

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