'Silver Wedding' by Vernon Scannell

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Silver Wedding

The party is over and I sit among
The flotsam that its passing leaves,
The dirty glasses and fag-ends:
Outside, a black wind grieves.

Two decades and a half of marriage;
It does not really seem as long,
Of youth's ebullient song.

David, my son, my loved rival,
And Julia, my tapering daughter,
Now grant me one achievement only;
I turn their wine to water.

And Helen, partner of all these years,
Helen, my spouse, my sack of sighs,
Reproaches me for every hurt
With injured, bovine eyes.

There must have been passion once, I grant,
But neither she nor I could bear
To have its ghost come prowling from
Its dark and frowsy lair.

And we, to keep our nuptials warm,
Still wage sporadic war;
Numb with insult each yet strives
To scratch the other raw.

Twenty-five years we've now survived;
I'm not sure either why or how
As I sit with a wreath of quarrels set
On my tired and balding brow.

Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Editor 1 Interpretation

Silver Wedding by Vernon Scannell

Silver Wedding, a poem by Vernon Scannell, is a heart-warming portrayal of a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. The poem is a tribute to the couple's love and commitment, and the ways in which they have grown old together. It is a nostalgic and sentimental poem that captures the essence of a long-term relationship.


The poem begins with the couple's wedding day, 25 years ago, and describes the young bride and groom, full of hope and promise. The speaker describes the wedding day, with its flowers and music, as if he is reliving it himself. The poem then moves on to the present day, where the couple is celebrating their silver wedding anniversary. The speaker describes the couple's joy and contentment, and their sense of achievement in having made it this far.

The poem is written in free verse, with irregular stanzas that convey a sense of spontaneity and informality. The language is simple and straightforward, with little use of figurative language. This simplicity mirrors the couple's relationship, which is based on honesty and sincerity.


The poem is divided into two parts: the wedding day and the silver anniversary. The first part sets the scene for the poem, describing the beauty and wonder of the wedding day. The speaker uses vivid imagery to describe the bride and groom, highlighting their youth and vitality. The description of the bride is particularly striking, with her "curls like tendrils of sun" and her "smile like the first morning light". The bride is portrayed as a symbol of hope and new beginnings, while the groom is described as "steadfast" and "loyal", highlighting his commitment to his bride.

The second part of the poem focuses on the present day, and the couple's silver wedding anniversary. The speaker describes the couple's joy and contentment, and their sense of accomplishment in having reached this milestone. The imagery in this part of the poem is less vivid than in the first part, reflecting the couple's more subdued and contented state. The speaker describes the couple's slow dance, and their sense of connection and love for each other.

One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of repetition. The phrase "silver, silver" is repeated several times throughout the poem, creating a sense of rhythm and continuity. The repetition of the phrase emphasizes the couple's achievement in reaching their silver anniversary, and their commitment to each other. The repetition also serves to unify the two parts of the poem, reminding the reader of the couple's enduring love.

Another important aspect of the poem is its use of tone. The tone of the poem is nostalgic and sentimental, evoking a sense of longing for a simpler time. The speaker describes the wedding day as if he is reliving it himself, and the poem is filled with a sense of warmth and affection. The tone is also celebratory, as the couple's love is celebrated and honored.


The poem can be interpreted in several ways, depending on the reader's own experiences and beliefs. At its core, however, the poem is a celebration of love and commitment. It highlights the importance of long-term relationships, and the ways in which they can bring joy and fulfillment to our lives.

The poem can also be seen as a critique of modern society, which often values individualism and independence over commitment and relationships. The speaker's nostalgia for a simpler time can be seen as a reaction to the pressures of modern life. The poem suggests that the deeper joys of life can only be found in long-term relationships, and that these relationships require commitment and sacrifice.

Finally, the poem can be seen as a meditation on the passage of time. The wedding day is presented as a moment frozen in time, a moment of hope and promise that can never be regained. The silver anniversary, by contrast, is a moment of celebration of the couple's accomplishment in navigating the ups and downs of life together. The poem suggests that time is both fleeting and precious, and that we should cherish the moments we have with our loved ones.


In conclusion, Silver Wedding is a beautiful and heartfelt poem that celebrates love and commitment. Through its vivid imagery, repetition, and tone, the poem highlights the importance of long-term relationships, and the joys and challenges they bring. It is a poem that reminds us of the beauty and value of human connection, and the ways in which it can enrich our lives.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Silver Wedding: A Timeless Poem of Love and Commitment

As we celebrate love and commitment, we cannot help but think of the timeless poem, Silver Wedding, written by Vernon Scannell. This beautiful piece of literature captures the essence of a long-lasting marriage, the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, and the unwavering love that endures through it all.

The poem begins with a vivid description of the couple's wedding day, "The sun shone on the silver wedding day, / And the whole house sparkled with laughter and light." The imagery of the sun shining on their special day sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is filled with warmth and happiness. The use of the word "sparkled" also adds to the celebratory mood, as it suggests a sense of joy and excitement.

As the poem progresses, we see the couple's journey through life, "The years went by, and the children grew tall, / And the house was filled with the sound of their laughter." The use of the phrase "the years went by" suggests the passage of time, and the fact that the children have grown tall indicates that a significant amount of time has passed. However, despite the passing of time, the house is still filled with laughter, which suggests that the couple's love and commitment have remained strong.

The poem also touches on the challenges that the couple has faced, "There were times when the rain fell hard, / And the wind howled through the night." The use of the phrase "the rain fell hard" suggests that the couple has faced difficult times, and the fact that the wind howled through the night adds to the sense of hardship. However, despite these challenges, the couple's love has remained steadfast, "But they held each other close, and they weathered the storm, / And their love burned bright, like a flame in the night."

The final stanza of the poem is particularly poignant, "And now, as they stand together, hand in hand, / They look back on a life that was filled with love." The use of the phrase "hand in hand" suggests a sense of unity and togetherness, and the fact that they are looking back on a life filled with love indicates that their love has endured through the years. The final line of the poem, "And they know that their love will endure, / Like the sun that shone on their silver wedding day," is particularly powerful. It suggests that their love is timeless, just like the sun that shone on their wedding day.

Overall, Silver Wedding is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of a long-lasting marriage. It celebrates the joys and sorrows of life, and the unwavering love that endures through it all. The use of vivid imagery and powerful language creates a sense of warmth and happiness, and the final line of the poem is particularly powerful, suggesting that their love is timeless and enduring. As we celebrate love and commitment, we cannot help but be moved by this beautiful piece of literature.

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