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ARTIST: Theodore Robinson (1852-1896)

PAINTING : The Wedding March (oil on canvas, 1892)

EXHIBITION : “Impressionist Giverny” on loan at Albany Institute of History and Art (Albany, NY ; fall 2008)


To the Painter Who Painted the Wedding March Entirely from Memory

You believed her,
your memory, to be as faithful
as a bride, trusting what she
described to you of that morning
on a winding country lane~~how the couple
rushed arm-in-arm from town hall to church,
long veil stirred by a spring breeze,
flower girl running to keep up,
a few guests lagging behind.
Those lovers in such a hurry
to be clergy-blessed.

As bells pealed, did you rush home
to sketch this scene
before a first betrayal (some
forgotten color) could curse
a marriage?


by Therese L. Broderick



About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

One response »


    My goal when composing any poem is to craft a passage of spoken language which is supersaturated with both sound and sense.


    In this poem, I employ several “er” sounds: her, church, stirred, girl, hurry, clergy, curse. To be frank, I don’t know why; they arose of their own accord. I deliberately make the “rushed arm-in-arm” line the longest of the poem, as if rushing along.


    In this poem, I explore the dimensions of “marriage” bonds between a man and a woman; between an artist and the subjects of his painting; between the artist and his own memory. And, of course, between the poet and the poem. Faithfulness or betrayal can occur within any of those bonds. I use parentheses around “some forgotten color” to achieve the effect of an afterthought; and I break the line after “some” in order to reinforce the effect of delayed memory. I introduce one auditory image: the pealing bells. I do so in order to raise questions in the reader’s mind: who is hearing the bells? Is that detail remembered or entirely invented? If remembered, remembered by whom? How do we remember a sound?


    I don’t know for sure that the scene in the painting takes place on a spring morning. Printed sources state that the couple is, indeed, marching from town hall to church, and that the painter did, indeed, paint the scene entirely from memory.


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