When David and I traveled to Ireland many, many years ago, right at the beginning of our marriage, we went with our family to Sligo, in the northeast part of the country, where one of my most favorite poets was buried. Because, you know, it’s Ireland. And what do stereotypical Irish people and an easy-going Italian-and-French guy do? Go poke around some gravesites and then grab a drink or three at the (always) neighboring pub, of course. So we did. When in Rome, and all.
But what we found, around the corner, on the side of the church, hidden by a low stone wall (of course, a stone wall. Duh: Ireland) was a monument to my favorite ol’ W.B. Yeats. And it was magical to me. There was no other word for it, and not just because I was jet-lagged and running on the previous night’s Guinness intake. The way the lone figure of a man hovered there, the words engraved on the curving stone “fabric”, the picture we took of the statue wearing a Notre Dame baseball cap…oh, wait. Well, most of it was magical.
I write because of the encouragement David. I am at home, raising my children (by the skin of my teeth, but still), because of the encouragement of David. I dream, I love, I …I am brave because of him. Of course, the way he eats popcorn still drives me nuts. And he hates that I never put the lid back on the peanut butter jar, or the jelly jar, or…anything. I won’t be surprised if we get into a dumb argument tomorrow over who forgot to put the towels in the dryer. That’s just marriage, isn’t it? But if I am half the spouse to him as he is to me over the rest of our lifetime, I’ll have done all right. Because in all seriousness, if I saw myself through his eyes, I could conquer the world.
This is the poem etched into the wide stone cloth of Yeats’ memorial:
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Ten years ago, David stood in a tuxedo, holding my hand, and said “I will.”