variation on vows

A Variation on Vows

Guests arrive for the celebration.

Neat wrappings wait to lay crinkled.

Pressed formals hang in garment bags,

not knowing their fate.


With hesitation,

seating cards are placed;

preludes and petit fours arranged.

No one knows what to expect.


The grandmother clings to one final wish—

Witness her granddaughter marry.

But malignant cells advance,

ravaging her frail body.


The mother wrestles;

where is my place—

with the soon-to-be bride,

or my dying mom?


The bride stares at her gown,

laid out on her bed;

stops in a moment of silence—

to celebrate love or honor a life.


Months of planning

never prepared them for a time,

when a wedding and a funeral may collide.

They compose toasts and eulogies.



Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash



  • 6 years ago

    You captured through poetry the impossible struggle they faced. Hard things can be captured and conveyed through this form in a way that simply explaining through prose would have been harder–not impossible, but harder.

    • Sharon A Gibbs
      6 years ago

      Ann, I agree with you. And sometimes, by saying less, we can say more.

  • 6 years ago

    You’ve expressed so much (imagery and emotion) with these few words… and for me, the take-away is that love is the constant of the overlap.

    • Sharon A Gibbs
      6 years ago

      “Love is the constant of the overlap”… those words settle in like a warm blanket, covering us in security.
      Your take-aways leave me amazed. Thank you!

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