keeping time

by Elizabeth de Barros

Anthony, Corolla 2013



There you go

stopping to stare

shovel in one hand

birds in the air

dreaming of nut trees   

“— maybe the tomatoes will be even redder this year —”

feeling full,  

knowing crops do better from tending.


And the boys,

used to be everything was a race.

Now, in tandem —

hardy maples, taking shape 

while you listen to the rhythm

of the lapping waves,

keeping time for the rest of us.

Is it me or do you look younger, though twice the age of when we first met?

Maybe it’s your smile

so easy, free

like that day on the altar

when our eyes

espied a glimpse 

of what began as the braiding of a sturdy cord.

Three strands:

love, our vows, and the face of God.

A marvel.

How those tiny bits of metal embedded

and where knots had once been 

instead have become 

a strand of smoothed pearls and colored stones

  nothing left between us 

but gold refined  

  in this silver cup of time. 


© 2014 Elizabeth DeBarros


This poem I wrote for Anthony, my beloved husband of 25 years. I recited it to him before a small crowd of witnesses this past Saturday at an intimate ceremony where we renewed our marriage vows.

(An excerpt from the vows we exchanged)

 It has only become more evident, after these 25 exquisite years, that you are God’s chosen man for me, my Adam, the one I’ve been called to love and live with, to bear fruit for God, that we might glorify Him.

Today, it is my wholehearted desire to affirm the vows I first made to you on April 8, 1989, and to fulfill them all the more from this day on. As I stand here now before you and these witnesses, I am ever mindful of what took place in the Garden, and with a far deeper appreciation and keener understanding of this momentary gift, this mystery, this glorious picture of Christ and the Church, I, by God’s grace, promise to love you, honor you, help you, submit to you, and serve you all the rest my days, so help me God.

I love you, Anthony.