My partner's uncle recently married a wonderful woman, and they asked me to write a poem to read during the ceremony. I was excited and honored, and immediately intimidated. I didn't know the bride very well yet, but one thing I knew about them as a couple was that they had taken two trips to Italy. One of the highlights they described to me was taking part in the olive harvest and seeing how olive oil is made. So I went there for metaphors — as well as looking up some ancient Roman mythology. My poetry group helped me pare down a long and emotional poem into something tighter and more symbolic, and this is what I read at Ben & Laura's wedding.
Great wine starts with the grapes.
A little hardship makes them sweet.
Olive oil comes from ancient trees.
Spread your net and shake the harvest.
Pleasure is a vineyard with a view of the sea
planted by the generous god of wine.
Patience is a gnarled tree with silver leaves
given as a gift by the goddess of wisdom.
In soil and sweat, with pruning and care,
you’ll discover the secret of plenty.
Plant an olive tree in your heart
and the grapevine of your love will grow forever.