Kathleen Rooney’s book of poetry, Oneiromance: an epithalamion, is one among several beautiful, extremely human, and extremely thoughtful pieces of literature I’ve read lately on marriage and coupling, and one I would be happy to give to any brides or grooms (if I knew any). It’s divided into six parts: two on a Brazilian wedding (first part the bride’s, second the grooms), two on a Midwestern wedding (same split), a Niagara Falls honeymoon (for the Midwestern couple?) and an epilogue, the epithalamion itself. The titles of most of the poems describe them as a “dream,” but they could just as easily be daydreams as real ones; the Niagara trip is a “scrapbook” instead, and the honeymoon portions of the Brazilian wedding have no special descriptor. The weddings are dreams, the post-weddings not, though both are told in the same snatches of vision and emotion.
It’s impossible to choose a favorite or most meaningful section here; the whole is cohesive and self-referential, with dreamlike imagery encouraging a dreamlike state that, as Sidney Wade blurbs on the back of the book, creates a “poetry of celebbration that doesn’t dismiss darkness but pulls it into hte dance,” and “ends on a quietly moving note that feels both satisfying and true.”
Well-advised by Tom and Emily to just get to the words, damnit, I will. In “Midwestern Groom: Dream No. 1,” “[t]he groom speeds the highway/on the way to his wedding,” contemplating the meaning of his new title: groom. Grooms care for horses; he thinks of the horses on the side of the road.
They toss their tails, they flip their manes. The groom contemplates husbandry. They may have names, but no one remembers, just like those cheerleaders: slutty, anorexic, pretty at one time. A groom is the male participant