American Life in Poetry: Column 744

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I am often asked if I know of a good poem to be read at a wedding, and here's one by James Bertolino, from his new and selected poems, Ravenous Bliss.Bertolino lives in Washington state and I have been a reader of his poetry for almost fifty years. When he and I were younger, we often published in the same literary journals, most of which have slipped away into the past.

A Wedding Toast

May your love be firm,
and may your dream of life together
be a river between two shores—
by day bathed in sunlight, and by night
illuminated from within. May the heron
carry news of you to the heavens, and the salmon bring
the seas blue grace. May your twin thoughts
spiral upward like leafy vines,
like fiddle strings in the wind,
and be as noble as the Douglas fir.
May you never find yourselves back to back
without love pulling you around
into each other's arms.
 


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2014 by James Bertolino, "A Wedding Toast," from Ravenous Bliss, (MoonPath Press, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of James Bertolino and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2019 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.