Saturday, February 8, 2014


Dear Friends and Readers, today is our twentieth wedding anniversary, and I will be offline. There are no big plans, just a day my husband and I are going to spend together commemorating a relationship that changed both our lives.

Twenty years ago today, on February 8th, 1994, Oklahoma was having a brutal sleet storm. We almost wrecked driving to the county courthouse, where we had told friends and relatives not to endanger their lives by trying to join us. While the bitter, ice-pellet wind blew through my cotton skirt and blouse, my husband held my elbow walking up the millions of steps, all rimed with a skin of black ice despite salt and shovels, or I would have fallen in my unaccustomed high heels. Rather a metaphor there, if you're into such things..

There was no one there that day except the judge and two strangers to witness our marriage, but I don't think either of us felt any lack--it was the culmination of two years of enduring, for my husband, a vicious divorce where every possible hurtful thing involving money, possessions, reputation and children that could have been done by his ex was, and the end of six years of a difficult stint full of poverty, non-stop work and stress as a single mother for me. I will never forget how many sacrifices my husband made to be with me, or how he has enriched and stabilized my life.

I seldom write about the man, as he is not into poetry,and, for me, happiness is not the place where I find my writing. Although I did get him to read and enjoy an entire Wendell Berry volume once, he has never read a word of mine, like most human beings on this planet ;_)-- but below is a poem I wrote a few years back for him, called Greybeard:


The wind is from the west and blows the storm.
You’re grey in my thoughts,
blown across sky, my very grey matter,
puffed far like a cloud from a smoldering pipe,
blown quick as the cunning flight of grey doves
who understand the shadow of the hawk, cloud pale
with the cottony softness of mare's tails
flying above waves to veil the sun’s glare
when the sea is finished with drama,
content to be softened,
washing living and dead in its slow endless pulse.

You’ve lost all the red
angry words, the ice-white silences
long ago. Your soft rumble stirs oatmeal-smooth,
the purr of plump cats by hearth-fire
dozing near the embers.
Your voice is a lullaby, secret
and tender as a ruffled wren with a ruby glass heart,
clear as the night sky swinging her moonshot skirts,
pink mother of pearl, with the round moon daughter
on her opalescent cushions gently turning the bowl of sky
to prism the earth with silver light.

You and I danced for for so long
circling our lives, wrapping the bands around the maypole,
weaving the yarns of years to make the tale
we now tell together, of two journeys
that became one traveling,
filled with the scarlet clamor of blood,
the black and purple bruises of grief,
across a mad planet to a place of moss and stone
where dancers can rest, and journey can end
with the grey hairs of wisewomen and white
beards of wizards nodding together.

~January 2010

Photograph: GB assembling the Vacuum Cleaner, copyright joyannjones 2012
All rights reserved.


  1. Happy Anniversary to you both, Hedge!

  2. Happy Anniversary to you guys! The poem is wonderful. GB is always so nice to me when I call and interrupt whatever you both were just doing. I hope you have a nice relaxed day together today, and many more years together sharing life.

    All my best,


  3. congratulations and very best wishes!

  4. Happy Anniversary! May there be many more...

  5. This is so beautiful! The whole of the third verse just sings of love, acceptance and treasuring both.

    Congratulations, Joy. Twenty years is a great milestone in any relationship.

  6. Happy Anniversary and thank you for this personal note. I appreciate hearing "happiness is not the place where I find my writing". I completely relate to that. And my love isn't into poetry either! Have a wonderful day.

  7. i hope you have a wonderful anniversary joy....
    your verse def speaks from the you can write from happiness
    smiles. i enjoyed hearing the journey of your love
    as well on that wedding day.

  8. Beautiful. Congratulations on 20 years. My hubby and I just celebrated ours a few months ago.

  9. What a lovely place to be. Together. Happy anniversary to you both.

  10. Oh this poem is simply spectacular. One of my faves of yours. I especially love how two journeys became one must so appreciate what you have together, having endured less happy scenarios before you got together. I love the gray beard, the doves, the "soft rumble" that "stirs oatmeal-smooth"...and the "round moon daughter"....Happy anniversary, you two good people........enjoy your good fortune.

  11. Love is everything and you are both blessed to have it. Happy Anniversary and many many more !

  12. happy anniversary. i have never managed to get my husband to read any of my writing either. must be something to do with men. ;)

  13. What a beautiful poem, it's a shame he doesn't read what you write. Happy Anniversary, enjoy your special day.

  14. Happiest of anniversaries to you two, Hedge. My wife never reads my poems and writing about her is almost hurtful -- that intimacy is closer than air -- its happiness beyond apt language though I sometimes try. The proper distance between any two intimate humans is calibrated in this poem, what pal Rilke once called "when two solitudes protect and border and greet each other." Like in spirit, apolunes in body. High fives to the two of you.

  15. What a lovely poem, story and couple, it certainly sounds as though your happiness is much deserved and that your have each immeasurably augmented the other's life. I hope you have any more happy years. K.

  16. Thanks, everyone! We had a great day yesterday watching my used-bookstore score of Xena dvd's, eating pizza and brownies and watching parts of the Olympics. I so appreciate everyone stopping by and your kind words and wishes.

  17. Happy, happy anniversary, Joy. Pizza and brownies! I'm about to eat some ice cream in your honor. Beautiful poem. ~ Michael

  18. I enjoyed reading the bit of personal history and the story of how you spent your anniversary. The Olympics and Xena are a great pairing... and pizza with brownies--Tops!
    Your poem is full of vivd and alluring imagery. Especially the first two stanzas which invite the reader to sense both internally and externally. You do this so well in your work. Providing intense visuals while evoking sensations that lift and mystify--it is not an easy feat, I think. I really enjoyed this poem, and as the last stanza plays out and it becomes clear that all has not been ease and breeze, we can rest in the last two lines that bring it all together. Simply.

  19. Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey. I love stories of mature, married love and the gratitude it brings. I wish you Happy Anniversary.

  20. Happy anniversary you two. Thanks for sharing your loving memories Hedge, it's all so very touching and intimate. Besos.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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