“The Body Is A Fragile Thing” is the name of a poem written by Judith Deem Dupree. It’s title and opening line has stuck with me now for two and a half decades. It rings true because the body is fragile, and yet, fiercely strong, strangely tolerant, and puzzlingly persevering. This week I faced both a potentially fatal infection in my daughter’s leg, and a potentially fatal surgery on my sister’s liver. Two scenarios. Two different hospitals.Two bodies. Three (thankfully) resilient souls (including mine).
I am always astonished at how the marriage of body and soul creates vows that are so secretive, yet so powerful. My daughter’s vows must have included, “I promise to trust you, stay with you, and relax into the possibility of a cure as long as it takes.” My sister’s might have been: “I will love you and fight for you until the day I die!” Both great vows for sure.
I wrote a poem a year or so back entitled, “The Marriage of Body and Soul” that included my own set of vows. It started like this:
“Do you, elbowed and ankled form take this soul to be your lawfully wedded wife?
Do you, sobbing, smiling, sentient, seeker take this body to be your patient earthly partner?
Do you promise to embrace her flesh in the full times, the fat times, the thin times, and in the ever-fluctuating ever-fascinating in-between?
So, I guess my question for you today, my question for all of us, is, during this season of “all souls” and “all bodies”, do you and will you always say, “I do”?