Wedding poems have often been written by Australian poets to celebrate the marriages of family members and friends. Les Murray, for example, has written a number of wedding poems, including one for fellow poet Geoffrey Lehmann: ‘Towards the Imminent Days. For Geoff and Sally Lehmann’, as well as ‘The Wedding at Berrico’ which describes a wedding in the country, and ‘Rodd Island, Wedding’, dealing with a wedding on an island in Sydney Harbour. Another Sydney wedding is the subject of Craig Powell’s rather more ironic ‘Wedding-feast’. While having a very similar title, ‘Wedding Feast’, Diane Fahey’s poem could not be more different, describing a wedding taking place in a fairy-tale setting.
Many other different types of wedding have been depicted by Australian poets, such as Geoffrey Dutton’s ‘Lutheran Wedding’, taking place in country South Australia, and John Kinsella’s ‘The Wedding Eclogue’, taking place in country Western Australia. ‘Eclogue’ traditionally is a pastoral poem and often took the form of a conversation; so, in Kinsella’s version, the bride and groom speak alternately to each other. Another traditional form of poem is the epithalamium, a term taken from the classical Greek, and meaning ‘marriage song’. Several Australian poets have written poems entitled ‘Epithalamium’. Katherine Gallagher’s celebrates the marriage of friends, while Ken Taylor’s is about his own wedding. Bruce Beaver’s ‘Epithalamium’ is a more general poem on the subject of marriage. In Jamie Grant’s ‘Late Epithalamium’ he predicts that the bride and groom will one day be looking back at what happened on their wedding day; at present they are totally preoccupied with their new baby.
For a short, and comic, wedding poem, it would be hard to go past Stephen K Kelen’s ‘The Wedding’. Probably the most unusual wedding poem is Alex Skovron’s ‘Narcissus’. In classical legend, Narcissus feel in love with his own reflection; Skovron extends the theme of self-love in a humorous description of Narcissus’s marriage to himself.