A Bride in the Family

Glorious Memorial Day Weekend weather topped off a wedding in Elizabeth’s family, as if the background of Hood Canal and evergreen forest were not enough. She compared the occasion to a Mozart symphony, each family member and friend dropped like a note, perfect and harmonious.

Once upon another time in the 1970s, Elizabeth was asked to write a poem to commemorate the wedding of someone she hardly knew. Without a shared history to draw upon, she “burrowed through dictionaries” instead, considering the word “engage” but lighting finally on “wife” and “woman.” In Partridges’ Origins, she was surprised to learn “how differently peoples of young nations viewed the female gender,” and the resulting poem touches on these different views.

While written for that new bride and groom forty-plus years ago, “Etymology of Wife and Woman” was not published until Love and Its Interruptions in 2015. We reprise it here, in honor of the new bride in the family. Have a listen.

 

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