‘Poem of my Husband’

The Marriage Bed

My husband of two decades is a quiet man, not given to emotional displays.  When he uttered these words that began the poem,   I knew something was out of the ordinary.   I wondered what he was thinking.   Our marriage was secure, our life together not dull.  I realized one can never completely fathom what is going on with another, even in marriage.

He is of German stock and rather traditional in views of marriage. For years we did not have a ‘marriage bed’, (his term)  or more than a few attempts at this, and all cast off as ‘unacceptable’.  He bought two ‘overdoors’ years ago, and as an excellent carpenter, he was going to make this all important marriage bed.  They were great big things and they would look good as overdoors, and that is where they ended. One at the formal front door, and another made into a mantel.  We still didn’t have his marriage bed.

Until this past Valentine’s Day.  We bought a Rice bed.  It was so high he had to make steps for me.  For a couple of weeks he, being a tall man, would get in first and then drag me over the bed. If he wasn’t there, I would have to take a running leap.  I still can’t sleep in this bed comfortably, feeling  if I fall out  I will break something.

He is contented, finally having his all-important Marriage Bed. He sleeps and snores like a happy man.  I sleep with one eye open, moving away from the edge, spooning tightly to him, but perhaps this is the way of marriage.

Lady Nyo


“You’re all I have”

Heard in the dark

Heart almost stopping

In an inattentive breast.

I dare not look at him

Too bald a sentiment

And too true to bear

A light, comforting answer.

What would occasion such words,

Such a piteous sentiment?

When one has lived

Within another’s hours, days, years,

The fabric of this making

Can be frayed.

The warp and weave, the very thread

That appears as if out of air

(and it does)

becomes substantial.

It covers and clothes more than the body

and the life blood of sentiment,


Becomes the river within, unending,

Even transcending the pulse of life.

“You’re all I have,”

A whispered refrain

Echoing  in the heart

And burrowing deep.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2011

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32 Responses to “‘Poem of my Husband’”

  1. Margie Says:

    OMG I’m crying, sobbing even, this touched my heart so thoroughly. What a beautiful, all emcompassing statement, simple and heartfelt. Jane, you are a lucky woman and a very talented one to turn this statement into such a thing of beauty!


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Ahhhh, now you got me crying, Margie.

    I was really shocked when he said this, and I think I know what was behind it, but he’s such a secretive man…as most men are…lol!

    In all these years, I’ve never seen him doubt where he stood. It was a little chink in his emotional armor. I guess.

    I remember my own emotions when he said this, in the dark….after absolutely nothing. These are things you don’t forget.

    Thank you so much, Margie, for reading and such a heart felt comment.

    your coz


  3. brian Says:

    this is so beautiful…you are all i have…has to be one of the most romantic lines i have read in a while…


    Becomes the river within, unending,

    Even transcending the pulse of life.

    yes, yes, yes…smiles.


  4. Katie Says:

    What a loving, moving poem. I have never experienced what you wrote-but your words give me a glimpse into a world that I know does exist. I am happy that you live there.


  5. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian,

    Well….love, marriage is not without its pitfalls, but over the course of it, it is well worth it.

    Thank you so much for reading and your lovely, lovely comment. Made my heart smile.

    Lady Nyo


  6. ladynyo Says:

    You know, Katie….with personal experience, how hard it can be, this thing of marriage and love. It exists, the security and promise and comfort of marriage, but it must be much harder work than I let on. He has paved the way with simplicity and strength, and I can follow well enough.

    He is an unusual man, but he had two marriages before….short, relatively to our 26 years, but I think it scared him….LOL! Perhaps that is why he puts up with me?




  7. ayala Says:

    This moved me. You are all I have- what more do you really need to hear. Love is flowing…. You capture it with beauty!


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Ayala.

    This (his words) shocked me. This solid, quiet, confident man. It brought me up fast, believe me.

    Thank you for reading and your comment, Ayala.

    Lady Nyo


  9. Steve E Says:

    SHE: “We have to talk” is what brought us together 20 years ago.

    HE: “You’re all I have!” May be what will keep us together the next 20…

    Thank you for sharing so willingly, openly and honestly!


  10. Steve E Says:

    …and I’ll just bet that IS your bed-with-steps 1, 2 and 3…


  11. hedgewitch Says:

    A beautiful and very real love poem. Those whispers in the dark, the heart-stopping ones, become our sustenance when the days draw in. Hold them close, and don’t worry, you won’t fall out of the bed. Your feet will come up under you and hit the ground first–it’s instinct, I think. Lovely writing here, Jane.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Hedgewitch.

    I have no problem taking naps in the afternoon in that bed, but sleeping at night is another thing. Right now I am up writing a poem about the wind howling outside, and death to our west.

    Perhaps I should close the window.


    Thank you for reading and your encouraging comment.



  13. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, Steve…that IS my bed…and it’s still too damn high.


    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    Lady Nyo


  14. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Steve…you about nailed it. Though tonight my dear husband put his hand over my mouth. LOL!

    Peace unto you, Steve, and thank you for reading and leaving your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  15. marousia Says:

    Ah you have captured it so perfectly – a long lasting marriage – I salute you! I have been married over two decades as well and I know well the impact of those simple words “You’re all I have”


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Marousia!

    Then you know the startling impact of those few words. They are rarely expressed, and when they are, you certainly sit up and listen intently.

    Thank you so much for reading and your very kind comment.

    Lady Nyo….And I salute you for your own marriage.


  17. Claudia Says:

    i wonder if in that rice bed is really rice..? no wonder you have to jump to get into it..it looks huge on the pic..and i loved every line of your beautiful and deep love poem


  18. John (@bookdreamer) Says:

    Powerful words not lightly said or forgotten


  19. Laura Hegfield Says:

    this is exquisite…we love our beloved for so many years, days, hours and then some statement arises to confuse us…and yet, if we are so blessed, even when edges fray…the body of the cloth remains tightly woven.


  20. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you Laura. I couldn’t have said it better.

    That line of yours….’the body of the cloth remains tightly woven’ sings. That is the essence of it all.


    Lady Nyo


  21. ladynyo Says:

    I agree, John.

    And shocking, too. Unexpected for various reasons.

    Thank you so much for reading and leaving this comment.

    Lady Nyo


  22. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, thank you, Claudia.

    I am honored. I love your poetry better than mine.

    That bed is HUGE….the room is big, but the bed is …omnipresent. LOL!

    Now my husband wants to build a light canopy frame and if he does…..I will have to make bed curtains.

    My understanding of the South Carolina Rice Bed is that it originated during the 18th century in the Southern states, and was a way to ‘flaunt’ the wealth made by the rice crop on a plantation. The bed is high because ….snakes?? LOL!

    But I don’t think there were canopies in the Southern version of the four poster. In the North, yes, because bed curtains would be a warming factor.

    Generally, if we read deeds, wills, etc. we can see important factors from these older documents. The bed…what we would call the Master bed, or the First bed, was a very important piece of furniture. Then came chairs and chests. What is wonderful about Rice beds is that mosquito netting can be hung from the posters, and the carvings were varied from plantation to plantation, utilizing the local carpenters. Usually slaves.

    Thank you for reading and your lovely comment.



  23. signed .............bkm Says:

    Amazing that you can live with someone for years and that you never really understand what they are missing….a beautiful write on the real ways of love and loving beyond the framework of material…that one can be all we have….thank you for sharing your precious moments with us…bkm


  24. Olivia Says:

    So beautiful!!
    Loved the words and the flow.. I liked how you worked the beginning and the end of your piece and everything in between!

    Hugs xx


  25. ladynyo Says:

    thank you, Olivia.

    Lady Nyo


  26. ladynyo Says:

    I agree, bkm…. living with someone for years can dull you to the miracle it probably is.

    Thank you for reading and your lovely comment.

    Lady Nyo


  27. D.C. Lutz Says:

    The truth in this one, the underlying notion that, even after all the years, such simple words can be so astounding….that hearfelt sentiments can move us so and , quite possibly, wrack the nerves even more.
    Thanks for this, truly.


  28. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, DC.

    The truth of the matter is this: I learn more about my own poetry through the eyes of others, than I ever realize in the making.

    Thank you so much.

    Lady Nyo


  29. Gay Says:

    This is an important and beautiful work. It makes me so sad, I guess. My dear husband has been gone for twenty years this July. We bought a Rice bed two years before he left me. I love it but also need steps to get into it. I no longer fear falling out and realize when it’s hard to push up from the side of a bed, it’s easy to slide out to the floor upright. But the love and the very ties of marriage are effortlessly managed in your adroit lines. Excellent, excellent! Gay


  30. ladynyo Says:

    Gay, you made me cry.

    I am so sorry that your husband is gone. Your own words are deep and beautiful and make me reconsider many things in my marriage, and the poem, too.

    This poem wrote itself, as so many of them do, when they come from some deeper place than thought. Perhaps we need to dwell in that ‘place’ more often, and perhaps then we will count our blessings more thoughtfully.

    I think perhaps, for those of us married and those of us with steps needed to get into the marriage bed, those steps actually have a different or deeper meaning. I am beginning to think they do.

    Thank you so much for reading, and for your thoughtful comment.



  31. bluebee Says:

    Such import in words rarely spoken, Lady Nyo – wonderful


  32. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Bluebee….

    Lady Nyo


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