William F Dougherty

(West Hartford, CT)

Epithalamium


(For Cynthia Ann Dougherty)

Towing your tattered doll,
you would fetch your storybook
and scale my knees to hear
how Sleeping Beauty woke.
My voice, to match a tale,
grated a giant's roar
or whispered of lamp or bean
against your ash-blonde hair.

You clapped each tidy ending,
after fidgeting through the plot:
your smile—at rescue, prince,
embrace—bloomed at the thought.
In that time of once upon,
legend let fall the truth
that a princess is her feeling:
kind words keep a lovely mouth.

I celebrate that now
in your own story's flush,
toss rice at your ivory gown
and raise a father's wish.
Ever-afters recede in mist,
but for the princess shining here
my cheer is plain and easy:
may your storybook endure.


[Pub. in Caduceus, Yale U. Press,2013]

Submitted: Friday, February 11, 2011
Edited: Saturday, February 09, 2013

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