They were married in the garden – two poets deeply in love with words, colors, changing seasons and each other. They wrote their own vows, exchanged them under the flaming maple, gold and crimson leaves swirling around them. The ceremony ended with lines from their favorite poet, words they hoped to live by in their life together.

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

Elsa’s lovely soprano voice turned the first stanza into effortless music. Several guests wiped their eyes and held their own loved ones close. Andrew answered her in his rich baritone.

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skillfully curled)
all worlds

By the time he finished, there wasn’t a dry eye left. After the closing prayer, friends, family and newlyweds embraced amid the symphony of autumn colors.

The seasons passed happily, the couple renewing their vows every autumn.  Their life together held only one major disappointment – they had no children.

“But we have a magnificent garden, our wonderful books and our writings, and most of all, each other.”  Andrew reminded Elsa.

Elsa agreed, and as always, turned to poetry for solace.

i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

Andrew continued the poem.

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

They fell into each other’s arms, radiant with love and gratitude.

Then the terrible illness came.  

Elsa became weak and frail.  Andrew nursed her, comforted her, read to her. When Elsa could no longer lift a spoon, Andrew fed her. He helped her walk, then finally carried her.

Now Andrew stands alone under the flaming maple, spreading Elsa’s ashes and once again reciting Cummings:

Trust your heart if the seas catch fire

His voice breaks. A figure bathed in light appears beside him, and a familiar voice finishes the verse.

And live by love though the stars walk backward

Andrew smiles at his beloved. Together, they watch the gold and crimson leaves swirl in the evening air.

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8 months ago

Any short story which adeptly incorporates e.e.cummings is always a readers favorite. The selections used blend perfectly with the story, moving it to the perfect ending.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
9 months ago

True love is finishing each other’s sentences and poetry. A sweet story, Julie.

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
9 months ago

Julie, until reading your story I had never heard of E E Cummings. This, for a failed poet, is nothing short of disgraceful for I have now read a very small portion of his work, which gels very well indeed with your tale. I also note you have used his method of avoiding capitalisation, which adds force to your quotations. Extremely well done.

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
Reply to  Julie Harris
9 months ago

Beautiful. The more I read of mr cummings the more I regret all these years of missing out. Thank you indeed for introducing me to him.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
9 months ago

What a lovely story of enduring love! I just imagined this couple dressed in Victorian clothes, singing to each other forever. What a great picture!

Bella Minyo
Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
9 months ago

Wonderful job pairing the poetry of Cummings perfectly with your story, Julie. I enjoyed and savored every word you wrote, for they were all crafted with the intention to have every last word be worshiped. I thoroughly enjoyed your story and would love to read your other short stories.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
9 months ago

What a lovely romantic tale pairing with poetry, Julie. Nicely done.

Last edited 9 months ago by Lotchie Carmelo
Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
8 months ago

This is so beautiful, Julie. The poetry perfectly in sync with a perfect love story. I truly believe that love never dies as the last lines in your story signify.

Last edited 8 months ago by Linda Rock
Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
8 months ago

Beautiful, Julie. A sad but heartwarming ending and very fitting. I enjoyed your use of poetry through the story and it truly enhances the love this couple share. Well done!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
8 months ago

Congratulations, Julie.

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