To witness has weight. The weight of memory and of hope. Of kin and of kith. We witness as proof. We witness as though our lives depend on it because, together, they do. We bear witness upon our shoulders. He is a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny. We witness crimes. Of passion, we see her every moment of every day, a swelling heart leaping forth.
A witness sings like a canary. Held by gilded hoops, safe at last when the sun rises, trebling “here it comes, here it comes.” On that stand, the witness stands and is seen. Seen bearing witness, holding up those not here in body, but in song, as we join that chorus, because nobody ever weds alone, nobody ever weds just each other, nobody raises eyes and breast to the sun without hands above and below, without and within our hands also.
To witness, we find ourselves in each other. We become a village built of our own hearts and bodies. An architecture to withstand any quake, a net to teach us to never need nets, a raft of otters, never lost and always found, at home among the waves and currents, unafraid of the rocks worn down by seas as we renew and continue together.
We witness two people begin to speak in one voice, as they find they’d been of one mind all along. That voice, with its words gleaned from brothers, sisters, friends, and lovers. Parents and family, those who inspire us and those we inspire. The Musica Universalis, the song of the spheres, that voice of many notes and chords, harmony, melody, point and counter point; a note once sounded echoes forever, and the song cannot exist without it. In witness, even our silences are vital.
To witness compresses space and time into a moment, a focus of light that’s infinite and larger within than without. This moment, when every story is present, when every presence is a story, and that story is a gift, perhaps the only true gift. At this moment, we become new, our plots twist, and we share the words that exceed meaning to transform us. At this moment, we exceed ourselves to become one another.
We witness. We do.
Colin Martin lives in Calgary with his main squeeze Primrose, the floof garou.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan