The marriage-bed is the center of happiness,
a point from which all things ripple outward,
a nest from which all things learn to fly.
It is the sign of return, part of the great rhythm
of the seasons and of the years.
It is the dream of return, the strength and faith
that sing of home.
It is the wren's nest woven of twigs and string,
the swallow's nest of saliva and mud.
It is what we return to, as migratory birds
passing over marshes and fields
dream of the end of the journey.
It is what frightens night-devils away,
even in winter.
It is the tree that grows through the house,
the hollow of the tree that has never known death.
It is the crystal of all feeling, the flower of all
understanding, the small containing the large.
It is the nautilus growing its many chambers of love.
It is the sudden outburst of one who has long been silent.
It is the idea that a calla lily can be shaped
like a wineglass on a long green stem.
It is the heart-stone.
It is the name of all names
that thinks it is a star and a rose.
It is a conch-shell rough on the outside,
pearly in its intimacy.
It is a snail rolling over and over
building a staircase.
It is an animal, an almond, a repose.
It is an oyster opening in the full of the moon.
It is a mouth telling a secret.
It is a kiln where clay battles fire.
It is the simple happiness of sleeping on a boat.
These are the walls we've pressed back into a circle
in the shape of our merged bodies
And it will take a long time for the waves
spreading from the center of our intimacy
to reach the ends of the world.
— Michael Simms
from The Happiness of Animals, Monkey Sea Editions
Were it not for the salutary
agitation of the passions,
the waters of life would
become dull, stagnant,
and as unfit for all vital purposes
as those of the Dead Sea.
~ Paul Chatfield
(a/k/a Horace Smith)