Red Silk and the Never-Ending Honeymoon

Good Morning!


Marriage is falling in love over and over again – always with the same person.

“So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Or as sweet-seasoned showers are to the ground.”
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 75

This will not be my usual Monday post. My husband and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this week.

We only had a one-night honeymoon when we got married, so each year since (except during the Covid lockdown), we’ve taken a few days to go away together, another chapter of our “never-ending” honeymoon.

Most little girls daydream about getting married, and some stage mock weddings with dolls, pets, or friends. I was not one of those little girls. It was never “When I get married” – it was always “If  I ever do get married.”

The one thing I said about a wedding was that if I was to get married, I’d wear the antique red silk Chinese wedding outfit which had been a high school graduation gift to my mother from family friends who had traveled to China in the 1920s. She had never worn these exotic clothes, but kept them because they were a valuable gift from people she remembered fondly.

I was always fascinated by the intricate embroidery. No photograph could ever convey the richness of the details or depth of the color.

By the time I turned 30, I was convinced that I never would get married. And then, someone came into my life – at the wrong time for both of us. We became friends, and after the events we worked on together ended, we’d make occasional phone calls to keep in touch. My rocky relationship ended, and then his marriage did. I invited him to dinner to commiserate.

Three years later, when we got married, no one was more surprised than I was. There was very little that was traditional about our wedding – but every choice we made together meant something to both of us.

And just as I always said, that if – I did indeed wear the red silk.


To read my poem “Red Silk” click:

Red Silk

by Nona Blyth Cloud

 – for all the creators of beauty
whose names we will never know

You hang
in the hall closet of my childhood,
. . . talisman of awe and mystery,
Journey to China made only in dreams . . .
Because of you
. . . the other side of the world is real,
and maps
. . . are pictures of places people live.

How many tiny women
. . . threaded silk,
. . . . . . sewed tiny stitches,
made you beautiful
. . . . . . with flowers, birds, symbols?
How many days
. . . . . . working
. . . until you and the night and their fingers
. . . . . . became one darkness?
Were they old
. . . . . . with blurring vision,
. . . or needle-eyed apprentices?
How many lifetimes
. . . embroidered
. . . . . . into births, deaths, marriages?

Flower centers so intricate
. . . each stitch
. . . . . . a risk of blindness –
Our century
. . . . . . forbids it –
No more blind women
. . . no bound, crippled feet.

We have gained so much . . .
. . . . . . What have we lost?
. . . Too soon,
. . . . . . no red silk sails from China
. . . untouched by machine . . .

Flowers for beauty
. . . Phoenix for long life, good fortune
from five thousand years of women’s hands:
. . . Ancient witnesses to our altered ritual

The garments of my wedding day,
. . . borrowed from another time
. . . . . . and half a world away.

© 1983 by Nona Blyth Cloud


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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