Friday, 5 August 2016

It's all I have to bring today

Anna, Andrea, Margaret, Sally, Elizabeth and me with Sally wedding-ready....

An EU wedding

Deep in the French Limousin region in the Haute-Vienne department, the town of Razès hosted the marriage of Margaret and Pascal. It was my first meeting with Pascal and he made it very easy to instantly warm to his reassuring and welcoming presence. Sally and I know Margaret from “olden days” at the University of Manchester and it was a privilege and pleasure to attend their ceremony on 9th July 2016.

At the town hall

Margaret arrived by horse-drawn carriage and her brother played a wedding march as she entered the local mairie (town hall.) The mayor of Razès, Monsieur JM Legay, welcomed guests from round the world with inspirational words about “peace, friendship, cooperation, openness towards others and the capacity to create a place where we are free, transcending national borders.” The Brexit vote was a million miles away from the spirit generated by the different people gathered to celebrate aimer sans frontières.

Like two trees....

A series of readings and performances decorated the legal ceremony:
Tibie Paiom by Dmitri Bortniansky
Lovers on Aran by Seamus Heaney
Ombra Mai Fu by GF Handel
Shetland Wedding Music played by Margaret’s Brother, Peter
Later in the beautiful bee-busy garden at Chesnevielh further performances ornamented the exchange of rings, moving words from Margaret’s daughters, Elizabeth and Anna, and the sharing of hopes between Margaret and Pascal:
Come with me my love sung by the Toolan family
Ma Solitude by Georges Duhamel
Tout Passe by medieval Persian poet, Hafez
Le reste du temps by Francis Cabrel
What a wonderful world by Thiele and Weiss

Lovers on Aran by Seamus Heaney (read in the mairi by Owen Cant)

The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas

To posess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?

Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves' collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.

Ma Solitude

(translated from Georges Duhamel 1884-1966 by Margaret Cant and read at the garden ceremony by Sylvain Le Bihanic and Sebastian Brun)
Like two trees, much alike
And facing the same horizon
We share our source of nourishment
And bend to the same winds.

Will I still be alone on this earth
Now that I have named you?
Have I rejected solitude in order to
Have you in my arms?

Like two trees, side by side
We mingle our leaves and roots
And the breeze which passes through us
Has but one force and one fragrance.

I take you into my solitude!
So deep and calm
That even the noise of our breathing
Is unable to disturb.

Like two strong trees, standing together
Reaching towards a cloudless sky
Their sap rising in parallel
Eternally apart

And yet, as soon as the wind rises,
From their entangled branches
Comes a harmonious music
Which betrays their one ardour.

Emily Dickinson

Friends Bob and Andrea included in their speech at the wedding dinner the following exquisite minature poem by Emily Dickinson, a fitting text to end memories of an idyllic setting for a remarkable occasion:
It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
Lac de Saint Pardoux