In 2008, I started writing a novel “The Cave at the End of the World.”

I actually wrote the beginning and the end but I got bogged down with the middle. I had planned it as an epic, one of those hundreds of pages long, books with a mix of fantasy, love story and a moral underpinning.

I even had a plot that started on page 1 and finished on page … whatever.

It ended up drowning in a quagmire of minutiae, whole sections that didn’t carry the plot forward. This, I realised, is not how I write or, even how I live. I really cannot be bothered with page after page of detail about the colour of leaves, someone’s facial features or roundabout discussions. In short, I am results driven and if the story isn’t moving inexorably towards a result, I get lost in its circular motions, like a car going round and round a roundabout because the driver can’t decide which exit to take.


What I did write, and keep, isn’t rubbish. It’s just the bookends of a story that will probably never be told, at least by me in the way it was envisaged.

It came back to haunt me when a friend’s son was to be married and he was to make a speech at the reception. It’s a cultural thing: while we western Christians are used to the speech by the father of the bride, in this bride’s culture, the father of the groom makes a speech. And so, while the formalities were performed in a small private ceremony, there were receptions on opposite sides of the world and according to two cultures, at least in this respect.

We were talking about his speech and he said “I’d been looking at the wedding vows that people publish on the internet. They are not vows at all: they are pleas. His son and daughter in law, he said, had decided that they would use a slightly modified version of the marriage vows in the St James’ version of the bible.

This, he said, was welcome because it flips the self-serving vows that are in so many films, tv and internet pages by saying not what “you can do for me” but “what I will do for you.” In short, they both pledge to devote themselves, each to the other.

Literally, “it’s not about me; it’s about you.”

That discussion reminded me about what I’d written years before, not as vows but as a proposal. It is that plea, that thing that says “you make me better.” It’s the stuff that makes people want to say yes, because people want to be wanted.

With that in mind, here it is.

You are the sails that power me across calm oceans,
The anchor that holds me in stormy seas.
You are the sun that brightens the darkest day
The moon that shines to light my way.

You are the spin in my earth
Without you I would fly away.
You are the air that gives me life
The water that keeps me pure.

You are the reason I wake up in the morning,
The reason I sleep at night.
You are what makes each day better
And each night a perfect delight.
You are the first thought as I wake
And the last thought as I sleep at night
<p>It's you that makes me strong,
It's knowing you're beside me,
That makes me believe in myself.
It's you that makes me me.

Without you I have no meaning,
Without you I have no purpose,
Without you I have no reason to be
Woman, please, be my Wife.</p>

The marriage proposal from "The Cave at the End of the World"

©  2008 Jefferson Galt

words by JG - The Blog