We conclude our tour of the Baltics with Kevin Memley’s “Sister Gone,” a poem by William Barnes. It is about a girl left behind after her sister’s wedding.
Because we were quite far north, where summers are short, weddings tend to cluster over just a few warm and sunny weeks. So we saw a lot of wedding parties out taking photos during the tour.
The video includes every bridal party we encountered and an unusual wedding in Stockholm. Russian wedding parties like to have photos taken at many of the same locations that tourists go.
|Quiz of the Day|
Can you find the bridal party that we saw twice, in two different locations?
The video is roughly set in the form of a Greek tragedy, with wedding scenes, “the dialog,” interspersed with our chorale, “the chorus,” singing at the Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in St. Petersburg. It is the same church mentioned on July 3rd, the one that was transformed into a swimming pool during the Soviet period.
In his own words, Kevin describes writing “Sister Gone:”
“Having grown up with two younger sisters and marrying into a family of three daughters, I have seen my share of wedding ceremonies. Needless to say, I always wanted a brother! But growing up with girls was not such a bad thing. One by one, I watched them enter into marriage and a beautiful new life. The greatest burden fell upon the last unwed sister, Julia, who had not yet found ‘a life to match her own’ as William Barnes states. It seemed like the empty years passed on for her as we gathered with family during the holidays. However, I am happy to tell you that Julia is now married and is enjoying her time with her husband and new daughter.
“How I came across the poem, “Sister Gone” is a shadowy memory. The text had been in my possession for a few years, but it took the personal experiences of my sister to revive my interest and emotional commitment to the piece. William Barnes eloquently reminds us of the intimate subtleties shared between sisters. His masterful touch brings us alongside Jane’s bittersweet feelings of both happiness and solitude, and leaves us there to ponder.”