Seven Days of Valentines: My Fourth Published Writing – Poem “Newlywed Song”

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Couple in a Clearing, Alexandre Calame, 1838, via the National Gallery of Art, open access

In late July 2019, I visited a local art gallery with my wife and mother-in-law, where an artist told us about a group of artists who regularly gather at that gallery to learn about painting. This got me thinking there must be some equivalent writing group in our area. Sure enough, with a bit of googling, I found there is such a group: The West Florida Literary Federation. I joined almost immediately!

The West Florida Literary Federation has a monthly newsletter, The Legend, to which the editor encourages WFLF member submissions of poetry and short prose. I took this opportunity to submit some of my poetry, and, so far, the piece below is the only poem The Legend has published, in the September 2019 issue. I hope to publish more writing there in the future.

This post also begins a new series for The Flummoxed: “Seven Days of Valentines,” and I dedicate the series to my lovely, wonderful wife.

“Newlywed Song” appeared in The Legend – and appears here – in its third iteration, the first published version. The first version I wrote in high school during Music class after I first listened purposefully to “Clair de lune,” the third and most popular movement of Claude Debussy’s famous piano suite Suite bergamasque. Debussy titled “Clair de lune” after a Paul Verlaine poem of the same name. Of course, my poem is much less sad than either of those two works, though as a high schooler with no actual romantic relationship, Debussy’s (and Verlaine’s) sadness certainly appealed to me. I wrote the second version for Creative Writing class in college, and that version was inspired by the burgeoning relationship between my girlfriend and me; that woman is now my wife. The third version I put together for submission to The Legend, and it was inspired by the wedding and honeymoon my wife and I had in 2016 in Destin, Florida.

“Newlywed Song”
By Ethan McGuire

Soft light, gentle moonlight
white-shining slowly down,
illumines the sparse spread clouds.

The wind sashaying through the palms
glides and paces past reflective fields;
salt waters rise and fold back in the sea.

I stretch speechless under obsidian sky,
wishing this night to never bid adieu.
My love, beautiful, graces the beach.
She is my life, my precious light,
my faithful lover in sweet embrace,
a woman of inner and outer beauty both.

She lies now tranquilly beside me
as waves crash on ivory sands,
our new life a journey we’ve begun.
Our vows we will never fail to heed.
She and I lie entwined here,
thankful, prayerful, joyful.

And if you are curious to see an older version of the poem, here is the second version I discussed above, which is pretty similar to the first version but fairly different from the third version:

Soft light, gentle moonlight – 
White-shining slowly down – 
Illumines the sparse spread clouds.
The wind blowing, caressing through the trees,
Speeds, paces, past the moonlit field;
The grass waves, folds back like the sea.

I stand speechless under a starry sky,
Wishing this night to never bid bye,
My beautiful, my love, by my side.
She is my wife, my own light,
She who is my faithful lover, a very spice,
A girl of inner and outward beauty both.

She sits her tranquilly by me
As we enjoy our simple life,
Our new life, a journey we’ve begun.
The vows we will never fail to keep.
She and I sit here,
Thankful, prayerful, joyful.