Poetry & Prose

Some examples of readings for your wedding ceremony.  Or perhaps one of these is the basis of your vows or the ceremony script.

Anon

Our love is strengthened by knowing that
each of us could survive on our own
if we wanted to…

but realising that more than anything
we choose to be together

As Long As Your Eyes Are Blue ~ A B Paterson 1891~

Wilt thou love me, sweet, when my hair is grey
And my cheeks shall have lost their hue?
When the charms of youth shall have passed away,
Will your love as of old prove true?

For the looks may change, and the heart may range,
And the love be no longer fond;
Wilt thou love with truth in the years of youth
And away to the years beyond?

Oh, I love you, sweet, for your locks of brown
And the blush on your cheek that lies —
But I love you most for the kindly heart
That I see in your sweet blue eyes.

For the eyes are signs of the soul within,
Of the heart that is leal and true,
And mine own sweetheart, I shall love you still,
Just as long as your eyes are blue.

For the locks may bleach, and the cheeks of peach
May be reft of their golden hue;
But mine own sweetheart, I shall love you still,
Just as long as your eyes are blue.

from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.

And when it subsides you have to make a decision.

You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.

That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.

EXCERPT FROM 100 LOVE SONNETS ~ Pablo Neruda ~

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: Where “I” does not exist, nor “You”, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

HINDU MARRIAGE POEM

You have become mine forever.
Yes, we have become partners.
I have become yours.
Hereafter, I cannot live without you.
Do not live without me.
Let us share the joys.
We are word and meaning, unite.
You are thought and I am sound.

May the nights be honey-sweet for us.
May the mornings be honey-sweet for us.
May the plants be honey-sweet for us.
May the earth be honey-sweet for us.

From THE PROPHET ~ Kahlil Gibran ~

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let here be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart
And a song of praise upon your lips.

A Bit of fun

OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO ~ Dr Seuss ~

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the couple who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “We don’t choose to go there.”
With your heads full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down, any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air,

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to great heights!
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have all the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang, and you’ll soon take the lead.

Wherever you fly you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because sometimes, you won’t.
You’ll get mixed up of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with so many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with great care and great tact
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
KIDS, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So, be your name Buxbaum or Dowrie or Bass
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So … get on your way!

 

 

 

 

 From Winnie the Pooh
A Love Blessing author unknown

Be all that you are,
The sun will find you…give you her warmth
And bless you with her golden touch

As you awaken.
The wind will call you as you gently bend
And become open to the world that surrounds you.

The soil will ground you
The water will nourish you
You have been planted here.

The world is yours –
To enjoy…
To expand …
To go wherever you want.

Life is the gift you have been given,
Love is the blessing you can feel.

It is all around…
In the flowers,
In the trees,
In the meadows,
On the mountaintops.

Accept the gifts of this new day.
Be a part of every person who is here.
We are all just hearts, alone and together,
Beating to the music inside,
Fulfilling our ambitions,
Finding our places,
In the wonder of the universe.

More than to hope in yourselves, may you believe in yourselves.
Take each other’s hands on this new journey.
In the quiet, you will hear the voice of wisdom.
In the stillness you will realise your deepest dreams,
And in your hearts you will know how deeply you are loved.

The Life that I have by Leo Marks

The Life That I Have

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

I LOVE YOU ~ Unknown ~

I love you not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you
I love you not only for what you have made of yourself
But for what you are making me
I love you for the part of me that you bring out.
I love you for passing over all my foolish and weak traits,
That you can’t help but see
I love you for drawing out into the light my beauty,
That no one else had looked quite far enough to din
I love you.

Leap into the void ~ Yves Klein 1957~ 

Come with me into the void
If you return one day
You who, like me dream,
Of that wonderful void
That absolute love
I know that together
Without needing to say a single word to each other 
We will leap
Into the reality of that void
That awaits our love
The way I wait for you every day
Come with me into the void

 From the Bible:

Corinthians 13 : 4-8 (King James version)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Corinthians 13 : 1-13 (The Message)

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.  Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.

Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

More Poems

SONG ~ Daniel Handler of The Magnetic Fields ~

Asleep and Dreaming
I’ve seen you laugh at nothing at all
I’ve seen you sadly weeping
The sweetest thing I ever saw
was you asleep and dreaming
I’ve seen you when your ship came in
And when your train was leaving
The sweetest thing I ever saw
was you asleep and dreaming
Well you may not be beautiful
But it’s not for me to judge
I don’t know if you’re beautiful
Because I love you too much……

NOVEMBER ~ F.S. Flint ~

What is eternal of you
I saw in both your eyes.

You were among the apple branches;
the sun shone, and it was November.

Sun and apples and laughter
and love we gathered, you and I.

And the birds were singing.

NATURE BOY song lyrics by Nat King Cole

There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea
A little shy
And sad of eye
But very wise
Was he

And then one day
A magic day he c
me my way
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
This he said to me

“The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return”

WHY MARRIAGE? ~ Mari Nichols-Haining ~

Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me
With someone I feel blessed to hold…

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…

Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…

Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.

LOVE’S PHILOSOPHY ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley ~

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean

The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single:
All things by a law divine
In another’s being mingle–
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another

No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;–
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS ~ Emily Dickenson~

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land,
And on the strangest sea
Yet, never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.

FIDELITY ~ Dorothy Colgan ~

Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.
Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae,
older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.
And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks
of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,
a man’s heart and a woman’s,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.
The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

A NEW BEGINNING ~ Gwen Frostic ~

On this earth there is a oneness
A rhythmic flow through everything that lives
The things with roots and stems and leaves
The things with shells and fins and furs
The things with wings with which to fly
The things that crwal and those that walk
Each thing must eat and breath and rest
Each thing must seek and each is sought for
Each has a birth, a purpose to fulfill
To each an end and then a new beginning.

BRIDAL SONG ~ John Ford ~

Comforts lasting, loves increasing,
Like soft hours never ceasing:
Plenty’s pleasure, peace complying,
Without jars, or tongues envying;
Hearts by holy union wedded,
More than theirs by custom bedded;
Fruitful issues; life so graced,
Not by age to be defaced,
Budding, as the year ensu’th,
Every spring another youth:
All what thought can add beside
Crown this bridegroom and this bride!

Some Prayers and Prose

A WEDDING READING

You share today the joy of a deep commitment
And a sacred trust, and you have given each other
The most precious gift of love

Treasure it, nurture it and encourage it
With all the honesty you used in creating it

You are sharing something rare and beautiful
Always speak the truth and listen attentively
So that you may understand each others thoughts and intentions

Inspire each other by sharing your accomplishments
Say I love you often to retain the warmth between you

Laugh a lot too, even when you are angry
Remember you are each other’s best friend

Stand together and for each other always
May each day be a blessing
And the fulfillment of your dreams.

FROM THE SANSKRIT

Look to this day for it is life
The very life of life in its brief course
lie all the varieties and realities of your existence
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendor of beauty
For yesterday is already a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope
Look well, therefore, to this day.

WEDDING PRAYER (Adapted) ~ Robert Lois Stevenson (1850-1894) ~

Lord, behold our family and friends here assembled
We thank you for this place in which we celebrate
For the love that it unites us
For the peace accorded to this day
For the hope with which we dream
For the health, the work, the food,
And the bright skies that make our lives delightful
For our friends and family in all parts of the earth.

CELEBRATION ~ Rev. Carl Thitchener 2003 ~

We celebrate the love that brought you to this day.
With love that deepens through many years, may they know its meaning and its mystery-how we become truly one in sharing ourselves with one another, and yet, remain truly two in our own uniqueness. May your house be a place of happiness for all who enter it, a place where the old and the young are renewed in each other’s company, a place for growing, a place for music, a place for laughter. And when shadows and darkness fall within its rooms, may it still be a place of hope and strength for all who enter it, especially for those who may be entrusted in your care. May no person be alien to your compassion. May your larger family be the family of all humankind. And may those who are nearest to you and dearest to you constantly be enriched by the beauty and the energy of your love for each other

Amen.

From A NAVAJO WEDDING CEREMONY

Now you have lit a fire and that fire should not go out.
The two of you now have a fire that represents love,
understanding and a philosophy of life.
It will give you heat, food, warmth and happiness.
The new fire represents a new beginning – a new life and a new family.
The fire should keep burning; you should stay together.
You have lit the fire for life, until old age separates you.

Exerpts from Novels, Essays and recipes

Desiderata ~ Max Ehrmann (in 1927) ~

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

(Desiderata in Latin means things that are wanted, needed or necessary; especially to complete something.  To say something has desiderata means it requires certain virtues deemed important or necessary for success.)

The Invitation ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder, May 1994

It does not interest me what you do for a living.  I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.  I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.  I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been open to life’s betrayals, or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with the wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.  I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself, if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when its not pretty every day, and if you source your life from its presence.

I want to now if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver moon, “YES”.

It doesn’t interest me who you know, or how you came to be here.  I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else fades away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Extract from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (1881-1944)

‘What is REAL?’ asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. ‘Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?’ ‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When someone loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, buy REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’ ‘Does it hurt? Asked the Rabbit. ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ ‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’  It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’ ‘I suppose you are real?’ said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse only smiled. ‘Someone made me Real,’ he said. ‘That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’

A TAPESTRY OF LOVE

Just as two very different threads woven in opposite directions can form a beautiful tapestry, so can your two lives merge together to form a beautiful marriage.

To make your marriage work will take love.
Love should be the core of your marriage;
love is the reason you are here.
But it will also take trust – to know in your hearts
you want the best for each other.
It will take dedication – to stay open to one another;
to learn and to grow together even when this is not so easy to do.

It will take faith – to always be willing to go forward to tomorrow,
never really knowing what tomorrow will bring.
And it will take commitment – to hold true to a journey
you both now will share together.

FRIENDSHIP

It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round.
However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel.

True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life –
it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship,
it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony,
and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic.

True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness.

True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential.

This couple came together as friends, they pledge to each other not only their love but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.

Eskimo Love Song – Author Unknown

You are my husband, you are my wife
My feet shall run because of you
My feet dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love, because of you.

A Good Wedding Cake – Author Unknown

4lb of love
½ of good looks
1 lb of sweet temper
1 lb of butter youth
1 lb of blindness of faults
1 lb of pounded wit
1 lb of good humour
2 tablespoons of sweet argument
1 pint of rippling laughter
1 wine glass of common sense
Dash of modesty

Put the love, good looks and sweet temper into a well-furnished house.
Beat the butter
of youth to a cream, and mix well together with the blindness of faults.
Stir the
pounded wit and good humour into the sweet argument, then add the rippling laughter and common sense.
Add a dash
of modesty and work the whole together until everything is well mixed.
Bake gently
for ever.

A Love Like This, Dan Fogleberg

And now the lonely days are done
And with each rising of the sun, love begins anew
And if you ever ask me why
I know that my love will never die I’ll say these words to you

Of all the souls I’ve ever known
Mine sings to yours and yours alone and yours sings just to me
In all this world I’ll never find
A heart that could beat as close to mine and this time I can see

A love like this is so hard to find
And so many never do
And loves like this, when they even exist
Are precious and few, you know they’re precious and few

Down the miles, through the years
Yours is the star by which I steer, the brightest star I’ve known
And when I feel all hope is gone, yours is the love that leads me on
The light that guides me home
The light that guides me home
Your light will guide me home
The Key to Love, Author Unknown
The key to love is understanding …
as it is the little things that say so much by themselves.
The key to love is forgiveness ….
to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes,
The key to love is sharing …
Sharing and acing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;
both conquering problems, forever searching for ways
to intensify your happiness.
The key to love is giving …
Giving without thought of return,
but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.
The key to love is respect …
Respect realizing that you are two separate people, with different ideas;
that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.
The key to love is inside us all …
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients
that will take you to its threshold;
it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work …
but the rewards are more than worth the effort …
and that is the key to love.

Oath of Friendship ~ Anon., China, 1st Century B.C.

I want to be your friend
For ever and ever without break or decay.
When the hills are all flat
And the rivers are all dry,
When it lightens and thunders in winter,
When it rains and snows in summer,
When Heaven and Earth mingle
Not ’til then will I part from you.

What is Love? by Walter Rinder

Love is just not looking at each other and saying “You’re wonderful”.
There are times when we are anything but wonderful.
Love is looking out in the same direction.
It is linking our strength to pull a common load.
It is pushing together towards the far horizons, hand in hand.
Love is knowing that when our strength falters, we can borrow the strength of someone who cares.
Love is a strange awareness that our sorrows will be shared and made lighter by sharing;
that joys will be enriched and multiplied by the joy of another.
Love is knowing someone else cares that we are not alone in life.