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You Are One

by Zettel 

Posted: 04 May 2012
Word Count: 141
Summary: written as a contribution to a wedding

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You are One

When light departs a sharing day
kind shadows fall
fears to allay
for you are one

When light returns in dawn’s new ray
hope re-awakes
of sharing joy today
as you are one

Giving is easy, taking hard
but love transcends
self’s wary guard
so they are one

When pain and sadness hide the sun
hold fast, hold true
face what comes
stronger as one

You are not yolked or tied or bound
by choice you walk
to love’s common sound
when you are one

Love incurs no debt, no demands
from each to each
as need commands
and still you’re one

When this life ends as end it must
together still
in love and trust
you shall be one

If the valley of the shadow should come
remember this
when all’s said and done

all is one

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 11:51 on 06 May 2012  Report this post
Good to hear from you again! This is what used to be called an 'occasional' poem, in the sense of written for an occasion. In another sense, your poems have been too 'occasional' lately on WW!

I've given it only a quick reading but Wow! I like this:

You are not yoked or tied or bound
by choice you walk
to love’s common sound
for you are one

I'll get back to you.


TessaF at 22:28 on 06 May 2012  Report this post
Hi Zettel, I can only imagine the tears that will come when this is read out - what a completely lovely contribution.

I agree with James about the "You are not yoked or tied or bound..."lines but also love the following
Love incurs no debt, no demands
from each to each
as need commands
and still you’re one
'Love incurs no debts' - what a beautiful sentiment and a line that will stay with me.

I think the only thing I wasn't sure about was in the first stanza - why would shadows be kind? But other than that I think it's lovely.

Zettel at 00:20 on 07 May 2012  Report this post
Thanks James and Tessa.

I felt the imagery of shadows carried an implication of darkness and threat whereas in the first stanza I wanted hopefulness and light - the image I had in mind was the lengthening shadows of a summer evening, natural, beautiful and 'kind' seemed a way to express that kind of thought remove the negative resonance shadows often have and which I utilise later.



Dave Morehouse at 13:04 on 07 May 2012  Report this post
Hi Zettel. End of line rhyme is difficult. It is also what many people consider to be 'real' poetry; especially in the literary diversity you will likely find with wedding attendees. What a wonderful gift you have given to this couple starting a life together. I enjoyed the way you carried the idea of 'light' and 'shadows' through the poem. It gives me something to grasp mentally. The refrain is a no-brainer for a wedding. "You are one" repeated mirrors the "I do's" likely to be repeated at the ceremony. Just my $.02, Dave.

Zettel at 23:51 on 07 May 2012  Report this post
Thanks Dave.

It's odd but it has taken me some time to write non-rhyming poetry. Each poem has a kind of 'voice' of its own and this one started with the thought behind You are not yolked or tied or bound which came out with a rhythm that seems to 'seek' a rhyme. From there the pattern seemed to impose itself. I have come to think of rhyming as merely a particularly strong and easily accessible form of rhythm; and loosening that led me through half-rhymes and eventually though not as often as I would like, to the more elusive patterns of free verse.

The 'formality' of a rhyming pattern also seems appropriate for what James has called an 'occasional' poem.



James Graham at 14:17 on 09 May 2012  Report this post
Hi Zettel - Your shadows are fine with me. Those ‘lengthening shadows of a summer evening’ are benign, and the the first verse certainly conveys that.

Should you maybe have ‘for’ instead of ‘but’ in the third verse?

Giving is easy, taking hard
for love transcends
self’s wary guard
so they are one

If we are selfish, taking is easy and giving is hard, but love turns that around. Giving is easy because love transcends selfishness. But maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

I wonder too if the way the poem ends is too sombre. True, but sombre. I’m not saying the reminder of death should be left out, but maybe it should be followed by a verse saying ‘be happy now’. I can almost see the second verse transposed to the end: ‘Hope re-awakes/ of sharing joy today’.

I can remember occasionally sitting through pieces of very bad verse at weddings and (even worse) at funerals. But this is in a different class and is sure to go down well with the company. (I assume you posted the poem in WW prior to the wedding.) I hope the guests use quantities of tissues and your poem gets the appreciation it deserves.


Zettel at 11:46 on 10 May 2012  Report this post
Thanks James

I did post before the wedding because I wanted to test reaction: I guess we've all discovered to our cost that sincerity, though a necessary condition for a poem, it is not always sufficient and I thought I'd rather not realise half way through reciting this to a large group of people that it was actually rather trite. All responses have therefore been very encouraging.

The giving/taking thought first came for me from Steinbeck talking about his life-long freindship with the real life Doc from Cannery Row etc. This is in autobiographical book called the Log From The Sea Of Cortez. There is some beautiful and insightful stuff about friendship there and at first I thought the idea that giving was easy and taking hard was counter-intuitive - first thought "oh yeah - who you kiddin'". One of the points he made was that pride can motivate giving and prevent taking and that humilility is required to do both well. Giving that leaves the recipient's sense of self-respect intact is hard and requires a keen sensitivity towards the feelings of the other. The other side of that equation is that one does not want to feel dependent, obliged, from taking and that is only possible if the giving is in the right spirit. (We recognise ths in the idea that pure giving is best anonymous. Even that's not quite true for to give in the spirit that S advocates makes it a deeply emotionally relational experience. So much of our giving of presents etc is transactional robbing it of the spirit it can represent. That's why our family love surprise gifts: but that also can go bdly wrong if the personal understanding isn't there.

A similar thought is present later in "love incurs no debts..."

It just seems to me this is the kind of spirit that needs to lie at the heart of the depth of relationship and understanding needed at the heart of a lifetime partnership.

Interestingly Steinbeck in another place makes the point that we cannot love another until we can like, even in a sense 'love ourselves' - that's another "oh yeah?" remark until one thinks about it.

For these reasons I think 'but' for me works better to express the effect that love can have reversing the usual balance of these ideas.

I can highly recommend the book but you do have to plough through the marine biology to get to the personal insights.

Thanks all for the comements - as I have indicated that give confidence that at least I won't be emabrrassing my son and his partner if i do recite them in public.

Sorry to go on so long.

All comments much appreciated.



James Graham at 15:34 on 10 May 2012  Report this post
It makes sense now. I never thought of it in that way before, especially

pride can motivate giving and prevent taking


Giving that leaves the recipient's sense of self-respect intact is hard and requires a keen sensitivity towards the feelings of the other

Very wise.


TessaF at 21:53 on 10 May 2012  Report this post
Hi again Zettel - I can't think of a lovelier gift for your son and his partner than this poem, especially when I read your very insightful and thoughtful explanation.

All the best


Zettel at 12:52 on 11 May 2012  Report this post
Thanks Tessa



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