August 13, 2010

"Counting the Ways and Marrying True Minds" by Pamela Mordecai

Counting the Ways and Marrying True Minds

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments."
William Shakespeare, "Sonnet 116"

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
Way one is forty on his next birthday.
Way two is pregnant with our first grandchild;
at thirty-eight she’s finding her first way
to loving her own man. Way three? Way three,
wash-belly is the last one to abide,
for when, according to my OBG
you set them sweetly in my sweet inside,
for each way hanging on, there was a way
that saw the world outside and could not, would not, stay.
So way three, manic, mad, magnificent,
speaks the last lines in this soliloquy
of how your cells have swelled inside my cells,
of how your flesh has truly become me.

Will may be jealous for the marriage of true minds
but what’s the harm in an impediment
or two? I think of Auntie Vida with her tale
about her bawdy bad-behaving friend
telling a fiancé who said that he
and she were incompatible, “Oh no,
my dear! You’re not looking at this in the
right way at all.” Shoulders thrown back to elevate
her beauties in their bloom, she set him straight:
“You have the income. I am pattable.”
Mind’s not the only measure, only mate,
and love obstructed may revise itself and change
and change again, and with each alteration, grow.
Fixed marks make easy targets. So our love

has bobbed and weaved to pass the edge of doom.
No mates in heaven yet we have a pact.
You’ve promised you will not ignore me who
have loved you many ways. I beyond strife
will once and finally be still
touching no mouse pad, keyboard, pen, nor quill,
no fork nor spade, hammer nor nail,
neither broom, vacuum, nor mop, nor pail,
touching only on God and his fine Son,
consummate bridegroom, and on Wisdom, she
through whom I for our earthly sojourn’s sake
lighted on you, sweet other one in whom I found
three perfect ways to love. So let it be.
Awash in honeyed obstacles, you’ll make
a keen addition to the choir. I’ll be around.

© Pamela Mordecai 2010


About the author:

Pamela Mordecai has written articles on Caribbean literature, edited and co-edited ground breaking anthologies of Jamaican poetry and Caribbean women’s writing, published textbooks, children’s books, four collections of poetry (Journey Poem, de man, CertifiableThe True Blue of Islands), a collection of short fiction, Pink Icing, and a reference work, Culture and Customs of Jamaica (with husband, Martin). Her play, El Numero Uno, had its world premiere at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in February 2010. A prize-winning poet with a PhD in English, Mordecai lives in Toronto.


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