BOOKS & THE CULTURE A Garland for Cynthia and Chris Surely called to praise, I said this day the hills are hemlock, maple, thick Connecticut oak above which a pineyed hawk is mobbed by crows, I said the trees are tapestries in air: See how a sparrow threads the space between, but then I knew I had not said the woven threads that bring us here, this passing in and out of love, this Meeting House, this trust in day and night, in summer heat and autumn chill with the scruff of frost upon the leaves as all that fallen light goes back to dust, had not said the ancient vine and myrtle betrothed to earth, the two lives braided here as geese in season wedge their way in winged intelligence, this bride, this groom who recall all those before and who by marriage are married to all. May you, when the night settles or the season closes into dark, know that we belong to earth and earth to Spirit and when we choose to thread ourselves around the threads beside us, we meet in the joy of recognition. May you have this wreathed community under native oak and hemlock and when we walk away as swallows stitch the sky, our names will be left upon these hills like leaves. HUGH OGDEN Nomad One time we paddled deep into the sound where northern and southern tides meet, the water so warm oysters spawn. Such relief from the world’s coming and going. Whenever we pulled ashore you hauled out the matches and kettle. I scavenged twigs for your fire. It was clear why I’d picked you. Here was the essence of nomad. Not the moving, anyone can do that. It’s the knowing that no matter where we stop we’ve brought the basics with us. SUE WHEELER Sue Wheeler says the Observer was “the journal that was a voice of sanity in my growing up in Texas.” Born here, she has lived since 1972 on Lasqueti Island, in British Columbia. Her poems have appeared in numerous Canadian and American periodicals, including Prairie Schooner and The Fiddlehead. Her first book, Solstice on the Anacortes Ferry won the Kalamalka New Writers Prize. Hugh Ogden, a Friend and social activist, teaches full time at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and part time in two high schools. He has published four books of poems, as well as in journals such as New Letters and Willow Springs. “A Garland” was written for his daughter’s wedding. Naomi Shihab Nye SEPTEMBER 11, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23
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