Doctor Donne’s Blessing
by Ray GivansMy wedding day the stippled trout are bounding;
my heart is light and the sun abandons the cloud;
on cedar boughs the blackbird’s song’s resounding
above the skirl of pipes and cheering crowd.
Before the church I leave the fragrant garland
(rosemary and roses) with a boy attendant
and walk the aisle to hold Sir Francis’ hand,
assured by Father that Doctor Donne will grant
a peaceful blessing. Watch a cloud amass
upon the preacher’s face. The thunder breaks:
‘Marriage is fornication sealed, alas,
with an oath.’ I swoon, begin to shake.
Is this the priest, who dipping the quill in sun,
stoked voluptuousness? The day’s undone.