Togetherness: A Poem & Wedding Blessing
Aug 02, 2016

3 minute read


Exactly one year and one day ago today, doctor-poet Sriram Shamasunder was asked to share a poem on the wedding day of two friends, who in joining their lives together were also making a commitment to combine their energies, gifts and talents in service of the greater good. 

Below is the special poem that he wrote and shared that day.



somewhere right now so many someones are closing their eyes for the last time

and so many others

summon a first cry

a birth

a death

an entrance

an exit

like a train station



To travel together in this life

carries a sweetness

if only for a little while

our travels began where our ancestors

left off

we join a collection of all beings in the 10 directions

that have ever traveled together,

beads in the necklace of life

unbounded by time

a sacred convening


two raindrops falling side by side from a single cloud

a long descent

a dance before reentry into earth

they delight in not knowing where they will enter the earth together,

where they will ascend again into the air


two redwoods parallel as they stretch for years into the sky

what knowing banter they must share,

a communion unknown by anyone else

bees drunk from honey stumbling out of a spring flower,

giddy in togetherness

whales off the coast

do they poke fun

flip and tumble in the water as they migrate

or ants arching their way through dirt and over a small hill to get to

left over picnic lunch

an epic journey

only togetherness makes a great journey like this possible

two monks bowing

three steps and a bow for 33 months

up the coast of California

trust like a surgical knot

shoulder to shoulder silence brings

in the cornfields

two corn stalks side by side

does shared company or purpose help steel against a brisk wind, or the coming winter?

to travel together

if only for a little while

carries a sweetness

may you look down at your hands

and began to ask

when did you start holding her hand

yesterday or last year or was it another lifetime?

when did the sun start taking the moon out for a late afternoon walk?

some questions have no answers.

may each others breath carry all the night sky

may you grow together like a wish inside a child’s heart

and growing may your souls become as still as monk’s soul at dawn

among the redwoods, and the whales and the corn,

and the bumble bees

may you walk together side by side.

may you live your life so that some bread filling some stomach

can be said to have passed

through your hands.

or a cough that clears into sweet breath

from some commitment on your part

or the beginning of healing for a stranger may have arisen from your daily determined sit.

widening of a circle.

2 and the 3 and then so many more.

and among the redwoods and the whales and the corn and the bumble bees

may your togetherness

be a torch that shines to illuminate any and all lives.


Dr. Sriram Shamasunder is an award-winning doctor, assistant clinical professor at UCSF and co-founder of its HEAL initiative. He is interested in health equity and narrative equity, working towards a world where lives are of equal value both the health care we deliver and the stories we highlight. For more of his poetry, read A Doctor-Poet's Birthday in Burundi.

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