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An Anglo-American Dream

for Joel Rust and Laura Fontanills on their marriage, November 2014

Now it is time to celebrate the potential of the human spirit
in this marriage of two minds, two bodies, two souls and two cultures,
two families with hearts full of hope and happiness
met here in this bright co-incidence of moment and place.
 

On the plane from London to New York
looking down onto the winter ocean
between a snatch of sleep and writing these lines
I fancied I caught a glimpse of the rigged sails of the Mayflower
as it ploughed onwards to this land of delights and drudgery,
of the restless and the refugee, 
of the dreamer and schemer,
of the foodbank poor and of unimagined riches,
of liberty and extraordinary rendition,
towards a nation of the best and worst of us
born from another of the worst and best,
 

and I thought
that a marriage is like the opening up of the frontiers of a great country,
two pioneers heading west together
towards lands of which they have only heard rumours and stories
or whose citizens they have watched living well or badly
and who now must set foot themselves 
out to the hills, plains, river valleys or rocky outcrops that will be their settlement,
knowing only that it is not the terrain itself but what they build on it
which will define the outcome of their journey,
the embodiment of their dream from which
new generations may themselves one day venture out;
 

and here is just such an opening up, a dream
of a marriage between one out of an island of rhythm and revolution
and one out of an island of words and careful compromise,
of brilliance and beauty in both in equal measures,

a marriage of careers enabled by the wealth of those who have excelled before you,
who were genius, ruthless, privileged, lucky or untiring
and who from their past have endowed on you this opportunity to find
new frontiers of an Anglo-American Dream,

a marriage come in good time now you have learned
that heroes all are flawed but are still heroes,
and more so for all of their fragility,

a marriage built on strata of geology and art,
of solid rock and shifting plates,
a marriage of harmonious dischords
(even for surprise at times a new melody),
 

a marriage of irreverence and laughter,
of passions and convictions and curiosity,
where difference means diversity and not dissent,
which will build up and not tear down,
that does not strive for wealth or success at the expense
of others' life, freedom or opportunity,
 

a marriage in whose unwritten constitution is no room
for declarations of independence or civil or uncivil war,
where amendments are unpleaded
and the only arms borne are those
to carry and caress one another,
and children and the rest who need your care;
 

and so may it be, this marriage of the two of you,
blown here by winds of hope and love
as precious cargo of two other marriages,
to disembark now for your own adventure
and realize your multi-cultured dream of love.


Read (after Joel and Laura's wedding in Central Park, New York City on November 28th, 2014) at the home of Laura's parents Al and Ana Maria Fontanills in Fresh Meadows, New York.  With an Anglo-American nod in the directions of Walt Whitman calmed down by W H Auden.