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Saturday, October 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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American Life in Poetry: ‘A Wedding Toast’

By Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06

I am often asked if I know of a good poem to be read at a wedding, and here’s one by James Bertolino, from his new and selected poems, “Ravenous Bliss.” Bertolino lives in Washington state and I have been a reader of his poetry for almost 50 years. When he and I were younger, we often published in the same literary journals, most of which have slipped away into the past.

A Wedding Toast

May your love be firm,

and may your dream of life together

be a river between two shores—

by day bathed in sunlight, and by night

illuminated from within. May the heron

carry news of you to the heavens, and the salmon bring

the sea’s blue grace. May your twin thoughts

spiral upward like leafy vines,

like fiddle strings in the wind,

and be as noble as the Douglas fir.

May you never find yourselves back to back

without love pulling you around

into each other’s arms.

Poem copyright 2014 by James Bertolino, “A Wedding Toast,” from “Ravenous Bliss,” (MoonPath Press, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.

Wordcount: 215
Tags: ae, books, poetry

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