A joke is getting married and absconding
With children buffeted by societal winds.

A joke is getting married and being thrashed
By the masculinity of the man in charge.

A joke is getting married and fooling around
On the bed of another person’s heart.

A joke is running off when the heat of the union
Starts to smelter the life out of your happiness.

A joke is leaving your partner in the cold
Just because they can no longer meet up as expected.

A joke is looking the other way
When wrinkles and gravity reduce the firmness of the skin.

A joke is refusing to acknowledge life’s vagaries
And thinking it’s all going to be forever rosy.

A joke is thinking that sticking together
Is a sign of stagnation and inability to appreciate varieties.

Forty years of marital union is not a joke
Through thick and thin they held on to each other.

The storm has been fierce and it is still raging
The ship almost hit bottom but God showed His immensity.

Forty years of vigilance with tossing here and there
On the slippery ground of life’s vicissitudes.

You become this day an exemplar of perfect endurance
In the face of a gigantic and insolent difficulty.

It makes me cry sometimes when life punches my eyes
But I derive strength from your years of togetherness.

A togetherness that has toughened you to bear all things
And has toughened me to fight and not cry like a baby.

I wish you, my lovely parents, a happy anniversary
You shall live to reap the fruits of your children and grandchildren. Amen!

MARTIN EKWUEME

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