Threescore Years and Then

They move together through time as though
It were all eternal. There was no isle
They ever walked down, no honeymoon, just
I do and back to work. There are memories, though.
Flowers in her hair, a near fatal ditch and run for him.
The way her willingness warmed the beginning.
His interest in idle weekends and being together.
She can remember the sense of finally finding another
Who shared and wanted all that she wanted.
He can remember loving her at first sight.
The years blurred by with the speed of life and blinking eyes.
He remembers when she made him feel like a whole man
She remembers a sense of home and real love.
The years intervened like ax blows, the tree shook
Was wounded, scarred, but stands.
There were terrible events that would not end,
That hid beauty in souls contorted, in ends and means.
There were festival times when laughter racked them all.
There were times of extravagance and of near destruction.
There were times of recovery and of deep, fast decline.
There were moments like vicious hands on throats
That nearly choked it all out, then there were times
Of majestic forgiveness and healing, times of such
Closeness that those isle-less, honeymoon-less beginnings
Were a gray morning to a sun-warmed afternoon.
Basking times those were. And always interrupted
With new worries and old ones they thought were gone;
Ax blows again, wedging into their contentment
Flying chips of dreams, of doubt in all directions;
They treated each other like a cheap date, a dispensable
Bauble that could be cast aside without a thought; though
So precious, so relished, so vital to them both.
And, yet on they went. At times hand-in-hand, at times
In hand-to-hand combat. Battle weary but never
Surrendering, life at sword’s point; no battle too small,
No fear too large to grapple to grasp to gasp for air.
There were years when they were always together
Almost boring each other couch-to-couch.
There were years when they lost each other in work
And thrill-seeking. There were years when he disappeared
Into old terrors and when she disappeared into a room of her own.
There was another pair of eyes on them through it all.
She watched and thought and never took sides. She
Knew them as no one else knew them. She was there for
Everything. But it was always them, and their way.
Their defiance, their love, their pride, their stubbornness,
Their joy, their deep sadness, their willingness to share,
To forgive, to start over, to keep going, to get it done
No matter what. The crazy phases of life with him,
The steadiness of everything and absolutely nothing with her.
They kept it up when everyone thought they wouldn’t.
They stayed the course even when the course disappeared.
For thirty years they stayed together, thirty for her,
Thirty for him, both so different they must be added up.
Not merely thirty years. That overlooks something so
Essential that anyone might miss it like a mountain
In the background or a tree grown from a seed cup.

After sixty years, hers and his,
They seem happy with all that is:
The times to come and times ago:
Joy that only true love can bestow.