literature

Epithalamium for Unbetrothed

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Literature Text

Come, you lights of night,
and welcome the dawn with me;
remain here, o morning star,
and bask in the glow.
You waning moon risen in dusk,
dance! Dance
in a small revolution,
your gentle orbit 'bout this earth;
pull these waters up to you,
these tidal swells and bulge
along my beachfront life;
whisk away the gritty sand,
grind the rocks to nothing,
and exfoliate my surface skin
'til it be smooth, fresh.

Come, you rising sun,
and banish the dark for me;
break, o waking morn,
and bring day on the horizon!
Heat the waters;
boil away my ocean view heart;
dry me to the bone.

Come, you shade of day,
and share the silence with me;
hasten, o birds of the air,
and chirp a new song.
You waxing worms of the ground,
consume! Consume me,
this carrion flesh left behind,
clean and fresh from water
and sunlight to guide.
Sing, birds, for joy;
I have fattend your worms
and salt--

Preserve me,
and my sore soul may
soar solo up
to the bright lights of night.
An epithalamium is any poem written specifically for a bride on her way to the marital chamber (i.e., the bedroom to be shared with her husband wherein the relationship is to be consummated in all its sensuous glory). Generally, you would think this moment is something looked forward to--and you would be right. Edmund Spenser's masterful Epithalamion is a celebration of such. I would argue, honestly, that the Biblical Song of Songs is an epithalamium in dialogue.

But for the unbetrothed, to whom there is no promise, there is a union outside of the physical intimacy that lies in the marital chamber. When you strip away these skin and bones, the union expected by Spenser and Solomon is not just bodily, but spiritual. Indeed, in Solomon's brilliant bit of love poetry, he likens the passion of love to "the mighty flame of the Lord" (Song 8:6). This is the literal translation, too: that it is not just a mighty flame, but the very burning, holy, radiant presence of Yahweh the creator.

This is an epithalamium for one who is not bound by the promise. It is an epithalamium for one whose promise was never fulfilled. It is a crass suicide, to never be made whole. It is beautiful, but honestly, it is depressing.

Ignore the preview image. DeviantArt was being dumb and forced me to upload one even though it was a lit deviation. Sorry about that.
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Comments3
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flesh-cladmonster's avatar
KarmaGhost's avatar
Break up poetry is almost as good as love poetry!
flesh-cladmonster's avatar