Nine Years Traditional Married

by Brendan Strong

Pottery, they say, for the ninth anniversary:
Makes no sense to me.
Shiny enough but rigid is its strength:
Baked-in and fixed, ruined by a crack or smashed
By a wall, by a floor, the shudder of a slammed door.
Perhaps they mean you stop throwing things:
After nine years, are we meant to have had it all out?

So, the other thing they say: what about willow?
Makes no sense to me.
Flexible, yes, branches bowing in defeat:
Slow and mournful, but sharp when reacting at speed,
Whether by authority or rebellion,
Perhaps they mean you get turns at being right:
After nine years is The Truth still something we separately light?

Latterly, apparently leather!
Makes no sense to me.
Flexible without the sting, tough enough for the weathering,
But traditionally tempered with piss
(Granted – not so much in contemporary times),
Perhaps they mean we tough out our lives:
After nine years, is persistence what we celebrate – is our life a plight?

We may have to accept our traditional marriage
Is not traditional enough
For the symbols of celebration that sometimes celebrate love.
But after nine years, we know at least
We can have a laugh
Because we have each other
Because we have love.

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