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Wedding SeasonJohn Burnside
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Vol. 39 No. 16 · 17 August 2017
Poem

Wedding Season

John Burnside

242 words

Die Musik bei einem Hochzeitszug erinnert mich immeran die Musik von Soldaten, die in den Krieg ziehen.

Heine

June will continue white, with outbreaks of rice;
though, given the numbers, it’s difficult not to assume

that one of these persons now present will soon take the cure
in a series of high-ceilinged rooms that was once

The Merchant’s House, at the heart of an Alpine town
near Zermatt, a resort so exclusive

it even had two names.
Though it’s not what you think it will be

when the treatment wears off,
only a matter of learning to live like a ghost,

music from neighbouring arbours, while midsummer moonlight
powders on the gilded picture frames.

By then, what will trouble you most is the lack of something
trivial, like lip-balm, or that pen you used to own,

the one that writes
in zero gravity.

Some choose to fend for themselves and walk away,
but for those who come through, there is always the second option

and if it starts to look too difficult,
remember, for one, that no-one here wants this to fail,

and, for two, there is nothing to fear: since nobody’s perfect.
Just read the instructions and try not to draw in the margins,

and if you’re at all unsure about QUESTION 7,
resist the temptation to guess – there is only one answer;

so if you’re not certain you’re certain,
just leave that box blank.

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