This post was originally published August 3, 2012. It was my first poetry post on this blog, and only my second post ever, following my introduction. But I repost it every year at this time, as my wedding anniversary is August 10 and the poem was part of my wedding vows. Would I write this poem quite this way today? Probably not; the sentiment certainly hasn’t changed, but the word choice could be improved, as the poem feels too formal and overwrought. But I can’t really revise a poem titled “Constancy” now, can I?
My friend Laura Purdie Salas is hosting Poetry Friday today at her blog, Small Reads for Brighter Days, with an original pufferfish poem that is one of the most fun-to-read poems you’ll come across all week! I hope you’ll check it out!
This is only my second posting on this blog, and although I knew I wanted to do something for Poetry Friday, it took quite a bit of deliberation to decide which poem of mine I should spotlight. Children’s poetry or adult poetry? Published or unpublished? Happy or sad? Funny or serious???
After careful consideration, I decided I would post an unpublished poem I wrote a few years ago for the one person in the world who has done the most for me in my quest to become a published children’s author: my wife, Jenny. Through her unwavering support (emotional, physical, AND financial), I’m able to pursue this dream along with all the other people who have been so helpful to me, like my kids, friends, and fellow writers.
This is a traditional Elizabethan sonnet (three quatrains with an a/b/a/b, c/d/c/d, e/f/e/f rhyme scheme followed by a rhyming g/g couplet) which I wrote as part of my wedding vows. No, it doesn’t read as a contemporary poem; it was deliberately written in a sort of old-fashioned, classic sort of style. I wanted to express the thought that even though poets throughout history have written words of undying love and immutable steadfastness, my love for her surpassed all their metaphors, all their similes, all that they could ever have imagined.
Yes, I’m a romantic; I make no apologies.
I conclude my poem with a suggestion for them as to what they should compare their love to…but it’s not a rose or a star.
Looking back on it (indeed, even shortly after I’d written it), there are several things I would have changed, edited, or revised – but I was under a deadline, of course, and this was what I came up with. Unlike my other poems, “Constancy” will never be put through revisions, however; these were the words I spoke to my wife on August 10, 2008 (in a voice loud enough that the entire state of Massachusetts could hear) and so they shall remain. These words were part of my vows and are as unalterable as my love and gratitude for her.
I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if not for Jenny.
Thanks again for saying “Yes,” Honey.
How many have, before me, tried in vain
To capture beauty, constancy, and love
Through fluent phrase, in happiness and pain,
And simile of summer, star, or dove?
Their words so eloquent, imagery lush –
In perfect imperfection testify,
For seasons change, the steadfast heavens rush
To swirl about themselves, and doves will die.
How best to show the one whom I adore
The fullness of my amorosity?
I fail to find a finer metaphor
Than that true love which you have shown to me.
The poets fail! Their thoughts do not dismiss;
‘Tis better they compare their love to this.
– © 2008, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!
Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Amazon “Best Books of the Month,” Sept. 2017
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