This is a blessing I’m often asked to include in a wedding ceremony. Its simplicity and naiveté make it appeal to couples who find neither modern nor classical poetry suitable for their wedding; its hint of spirituality substitutes warmly for religious invocations.
Although it is passed off as an authentic tribute to Apache culture, this reading first appeared in the 1947 novel by Elliot Arnold called “ Blood Brothers” – which was later turned into the movie, “Broken Arrow”. In the story the hero befriends the Indian chief, Cochise, and meets and marries the young woman, Morning Star. The poem was an invention of the author and has undergone many mutations, such is its popularity. To call it Apache is cultural appropriation I suppose, but only for the most benign reason. Such inventions and reflections are better known as “ fakelore” than tradition, but they serve their purpose – here is one version:
“Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth. Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.
When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.”