Shall I compare thee to a summers day? or are you more like a balmy night in Bega? Is your love really like a red, red rose or  more a yellow, yellow sunflower? Does Shakespeare necessarily say it better? Selecting a reading for your ceremony can be quite challenging. Ideally it should strike a very real connection and say something meaningful about  your relationship. It doesn't have to be Shakespeare or Elizabeth Barrett Browning, although they had some wonderful things to say on the subject. Here are some readings and poetry ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. Hopefully you'll find something you like here, something that makes you go "Yes, that's exactly how we feel and what we want to say!

from Captain Corelli's Mandolin 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 blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two. Louis de Bernieres

 from Gift From The Sea When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The Invitation It doesn't 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 opened by 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 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 wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of you fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being a human. It doesn't interest me if the story you're 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 the beauty even when it is not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!" It doesn't interest me to know much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done. It doesn't interest me who you are, 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 falls 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; so you are comfortable with who you are.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer

The Wedding at Berrico 

To reach your watershed country
we've driven th is summer's green climbs
and the creekwater film spooling over
causeways got spliced many times
with its boulders like ice under whisky,
tree pools mirrory as the eyes of horses.
Great hills above, the house en fete:
we've parked between soaring rhymes
and slipped in among brilliant company.

Here are your gifts I see God's sent
all your encounters so far with him:
life, Landscape. Unfraught love. Some poetry.
Risk too, with his star rigger Freedom,
but here's poise for whatever may come.
What's life wish you? Sound genetics, delight,
long resilience against gravity, the sight
of great-grandchildren, a joint sense of home.

Hey, all these wishes in smart boxes! Fun,
challenges, Meaning, work-satisfaction -
this must be the secular human lot; health
till high old age, children of character,
dear friendships. And the testing one: wealth.
Quietly we add ours, may
you always have each other and want to.

But now you join hands, exchanging
the vows that cost joyfully dear.
They move you to the centre of life,
and us gently to the rear.  Les Murray

All That Is, Is In You
Rolling waves of thunderous cloud
Tumble seamlessly into the ocean swell
Rushing lights, red and white
Coursing through crowded city arteries
Blood and traffic merge in the soul's eye
A world in every cell
Above below, so below
Within and out
Reflections bouncing back and forth
In endless, playful song
What I feel in me, I see in you
What I know to be true, arrives in a flash
After eons of careful construction
Mountains emerge and rock strata tilt
All waiting for thousands of years
To beckon you into their wisdom
The infinite truth of this moment
Love can not be given or taken, only shared
The perfect reflection of what is already there Emily Simpson

We gathered together for the wedding which took place on a clear, crisp October afternoon. The ceremony was held upon a grassy precipice that afforded magnificent views of the surrounding peaks, their trees resplendant in fiery red and orange. It was easy to imagine, looking out over the horizon that we were it, the last remaining people on the face of the earth. The others had been wiped out by disease or famine and we had been chosen to fashion a new and better world. It was a plesant thought until I pictured us foraging for berries and having to bathe in ice cold streams. Bob's family, hearty and robust, could probably pull it off but the rest of us would wither and die shortly after we'd run out of shampoo. My father wept openly during the ceremony, the rest of us studied his crumpled face and fought hard not to follow his example. What ws this emotion? My sister was getting married to a kind and thoughtful man who had seen her through a great many hardships. Together they shared a deep commitment to Mexican food and were responsible card-carrying members of the North American Caged Bird Society. The tacos and parrots were strictly  between Lisa and Bob, but the rest of her belonged to us. Standing in a semicircle on top of that mountain it became clear that while Lisa might take on a different last name, she could never escape the pull of our family. Marriage wouldn't let  her off the hook, even if she wanted it to. She could move to Antarctica, setting up home in an underground bunker but still we would track her down. It was useless to run. David Sedaris

 Daily Afflictions We're all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you've been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there's no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. It isn't until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems - the ones that make you truly who you are - that you're ready to find a life-long mate. Only then do you finally know what you're looking for. You're looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person - someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, "This is the problem I want to have." Andrew Boyd

Moth Orchid I've been trying to find the flower that best defines you. That it has to be unusual, in need of care, requireing an abundance of warmth and light, difficult to find, and has a name with the music of earth or air inside it...the moth orchid comes to mind, and remains - a flower that thrives at rare altitudes, one that's been behind and above the deaths of men who fell while trying to claim it from some distant, lofty place. Have I said enough? Has my definition gone some way towards revealing you? Let me say the flower's name again: the quiet vowels and consonants of grief. Anthony Lawrence 

 Hold Me Close
For every lesson that I've learned,
A hundred times I've crashed and burned.
You pulled me from the smoking wreck,
Dusted me off and kissed my neck.
Though my pockets are filled with dust,
You chose to hold my heart and trust.
You fixed a price tag to my soul,
You gave me breath and made me whole.
If in a moment I found grace,
It's in a vision of your face.
You showed me where desire begins,
You loved me from the skin on in.
If I come to you and my wings are weighted down,
My tongue sits like a stone and I can hardly make a sound.
If everything I have crumbles in my hand,
Hold me close and tell me who I am.
Chris Wilson


from The Shipping News  Quoyle experienced moments in all colors, uttered brilliancies, paid attention to the rich sound of waves counting stones, he laughed and wept, noticed sunsets, heard music in rain, said I do. A row of shining hubcaps appeared in the front yard of the Burke's house. A wedding present from the bride's father.
For if Jack Buggit could escape from a pickle jar, if a bird with a broken neck could fly away, what else might be possible? Water may be older than light, diamonds crack in hot goat's blood, mountaintops give off cold fire, forests appear in mid-ocean, it may happen that a crab is caught with the shadow of a hand on its back, that the wind be imprisoned in a bit of knotted string. And it may be tht love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.
Annie Proulx

 Wedding Prayer
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Touched by an Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love which sets us free. Maya Angelou

Come and be my baby 
The highway is full of big cars
going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that'll burn
Some people wrap their lives around a cocktail
And you sit wondering
where you're going to turn
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.

Some prophets say the world is gonna end
But others say we've got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
what you're gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby. 

Maya Angelou

 Is it for now or for always,

The world hangs on a stalk?
Is it a trick or a trysting-place,
The woods we have found to walk?

Is it a mirage or miracle,
Your lips that lift at mine:
And the suns like a juggler's juggling-balls,
Are they a sham or a sign?

Shine out, my sudden angel,
Break fear with breast and brow,
I take you now and for always,

For always is always now

Philip Larkin

I Want….

To shove my clothes
To one side of the closet,
Give you the bigger half.
Quietly I'll hide most of my shoes,
So you won't know I have this many.

I will
Rearrange furniture to add more,
Find space on my shelves
For your many books,
Nail up the railway sign that says
Coburg, Upfield, Melton and Craigieburn.

I want

To share a laundry basket,
Get our clothes mixed up,
Wait for the yelling when my reds run wild
Into your whites
Turning them purple,
Your favourite colour of me.

I will
Move my pillow
To the other side of the bed,
Lay yours next to mine,
Your scent on the fabric
Always near me,
Even on nights you're away.

I will
Buy new drawers to hold your
Thousand and one gadgets,
Find a place for all those cables,
The ones I refer to as black and ugly.

I want
More pots and pans for us to wash,
Piles of them leaning high
From late night meals
Cooked joyful and drunk,
Red wine pouring into
A sauce of simmering
Tomatoes, garlic and olive oil,
Kisses bitten between bites,
And platefuls of our late hours,
Stacking up into dawn.

I want
To stock cupboards, closets and pantry,
Fill the house with us.
I want to gain weight with you
Because our love,
Our love makes me fat.


The Prophet on Love

Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love,
And he raised his head and looked upon the people,
and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a
great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep,
And when his wings enfold you yield to
Though the sword hidden among his
pinions may would you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he
crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so
is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and
caresses your tenderest branches that quiver
in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake
them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of grain he gathers you unto
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's
sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that
you may know the secrets of your heart, and
in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's
But if in your fear you would seek only
love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your
nakedness and pass out of love's threshingfloor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall
laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep,
but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes
naught but from itself.
Love possesses not not would it be
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is
in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of
And think not you can direct the course of
love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs
your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires,
let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that
sings its melody to the night. (so beautiful!!)
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
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.

 Dante On Love The love of God unnutterable and perfect flows into a pure soul the way that light rushes into a transparent object.The more love that it finds, the more it gives itself, so that, as we grow more clear and open, the more complete the joy of loving is. And the more souls who resonate together, the greater the intensity of their love, for, mirror-like, each soul reflects the others. Dante

Abundance and delight Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives... remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight. Matthew 18:20 



Giving Away the Bride

Half-kneeling and half-seated
The head of the family makes his address
communicating with the ancestors
Imploring them to bless the bride.

"The daughter you gave us is going.
We are taking her to her husband's.
We accepted their herd of cattle
And according to the teaching you gave us,
We have no right to keep both
Our daughter and their herd.

"You, my father, who has gone before us
And are watching over us from the clouds,
We ask you to tell the girl's grandmother -
Your wife and our mother.
Also tell our people who are with you
That we are taking their child to her new home.

"We thought it right and proper
That we should notify you before she goes.
You know as much as we do
That when she leaves behind
Guidance away from home
Can now only come from you,
You who only can be with us
And with her in her new home.

"Let there be happiness and good life,
Let there be tender pumpkins in their marriage.
You do know if there should be no little ones,
Her husband and his people may think
That their cattle brought no children home.
If there should be no little ones of her own,
Give her the wisdom

Not to try her luck with other men" Paul Chidyausiku

Forever Young May God bless and keep you always,May your wishes all come true,May you always do for others,and let others do for you.May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung, May you stay forever young. May you grow up to be rifhteous, may you grow up to be true, may you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong. May you stay forever young. May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift, may you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift. May your heart always be joyful. May your song always be sung. May you stay forever young. Bob Dylan

I Wanna be Yours 

I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust,
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust,
If you like your coffee hot
Let me be your coffee pot,
You call the shots,

I wanna be yours.

I wanna be your raincoat
For those frequent rainy days,
I wanna be your dreamboat
When you want to sail away,
Let me be your teddy bear
Take me with you anywhere,
I don't care,
I wanna be yours.

I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out,
I wanna be the electric heater
You'll get cold without,
I wanna be your setting lotion
Hold your hair in deep devotion,
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
That's how deep is my devotion.


The Irish Wedding Blessing 
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another
trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye.

And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.

May the gracious God hold you both
in the palm of His hands.
And, today, may the Spirit of Love
find a dwelling place in your hearts.

Another Irish Wedding Blessing 
May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune and rich in blessings.

May you know nothing but happiness from this day


somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me                                      
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                    i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
e.e. cummings

Walt Whitman

I do not offer the old smooth prizes,
But offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve.
However sweet the laid-up stores,
However convenient the dwellings,
You shall not remain there.
However sheltered the port,
And however calm the waters,
You shall not anchor there.
However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you
You are permitted to receive it but a little while
Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you,
leading wherever you choose.
Say only to one another:
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love, more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law:
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

Dance Me To The End Of Love Dance me to your beauty, with a burning violin, Dance me through the panic, till I'm gathered safely in, Lift me like an olive branch, and be my homeward dove, Dance me to the end of love. Let me see your beauty, when the witnesses are gone, Let me feel you moving, like they do in Babylon, Show me slowly what I only know the limits of, Dance me to the end of love. Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on, Dance me very tenderly, and dance me very long, We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above, Dance me to the end of love. Dance me to the children, who are asking to be born, Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn, Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn, Dance me to the end of love. Dance me to your beauty, with a burning violin, Dance me through the panic, till I'm gathered safely in, Touch me with your naked hand, touch me with your glove, Dance me to the end of love Leonard Cohen

From the east house of light 
may wisdom dawn in us
So we may see all things in clarity

From the north house of night
May wisdom ripen in us
So we may see all from within

From the west house of transformation
May wisdom be transformed into right action
So we may do what must be done

From the south house of eternal sun
ay right action reap the harvest
So we may enjoy the fruits of planetary being

From above house of heaven
where star people and ancestors gather
may their blessings come to us now

From below house of earth
may the heartbeat of her crystal core
bless us with harmony and peace to end all war

and from the centre galactic source
which is everywhere at once
may everything be known as the light of mutual love

All Hail the Harmony of Mind and Nature

Rainer Maria Rilke

Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two young people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before. Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness, - a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both.

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.

That is why this too must be the criterion for rejection or choice: whether you are willing to stand guard over someone else's solitude, and whether you are able to set this same person at the gate of your own depths, which he learns of only through what steps forth, in holiday clothing, out of the great darkness.

Life is self-transformation, and human relationships, which are an extract of life, are the most changeable of all, they rise and fall from minute to minute, and lovers are those for whom no moment is like any another. People between whom nothing habitual ever takes place, nothing that has already existed, but just what is new, unexpected, unprecedented. There are such connections, which must be a very great, an almost unbearable happiness, but they can occur only between very rich beings, between those who have become, each for his own sake, rich, calm, and concentrated; only if two worlds are wide and deep and individual can they be combined.... ...For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.

On Marriage Marriage is a commitment to life - to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal, a joining that is promised for a lifetime. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other's best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.  Edmund O'Neill

The Art of Marriage Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the Art of Marriage: The little things are the big ones. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.


I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be. I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals. I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little. A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall. The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desires are working for larger and finer growth. Not always shall you be what you are now. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.  Carl Sandburg

The Voyage of Commitment:
The voyage of commitment is never made alone; we cannot be committed only to ourselves or we will die. We must ask whether we call give ourselves to another, or to others not knowing the changes that time, bad luck, and sickness may work on them .You have to give more than this in real love, and be ready to move into darkness, illness and loss of beauty, if you care at all about someone else. We stand on sacred ground when we stand close enough to another to give ourselves withoutstrings, conditions, or codicils written into our commitments. Are such commitments possible? How can we tell tell unless we have given ourselves to another, made our heart vulnerable, in order to achieve a sense of life which is deeper than the trembling moment and its dreadful ticking uncertainties.

Tolstoy Having embarked on marriage he saw at every step that it was not at all what he had imagined. At every step he experienced what a man experiences when, after admiring the smooth, happy motion of a boat on a lake, he finds himself sitting in it himself. He found that it was not enough to sit quietly without rocking the boat, that he had constantly to consider what to do next, that not for a moment must he forget what course to steer or that there was water under his feet, that he had to row, much as it hurt his unaccustomed hands, that it was pleasant enough to look at it from the shore, but very hard, though very delightful, to sail it.

100 Love Sonnets

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 waythan 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. Pablo Neruda

 Love is not simply a relationship to a specific person; It is an attitude; an orientation of character, which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one "object" of love. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow person, this love is not love but a selfish attachment, or an enlarged egotism. If you truly love one person, you love all persons, you love the world, you love life. If you can say to somebody else, "I love you" you must be able to say, "I love through you the world, I love in you also myself.  Eric Fromm

From the Buddhist scriptures This is what should be done by the man and woman who are wise, who seek the good, and who know the meaning of the place of peace.Let them be fervent, upright, and sincere, without conceit of self, easily contented and joyous, free of cares; let them not be submerged by the things of the world; let them not take upon themselves the burden of worldly goods; let their senses be controlled; let them be wise but not puffed up, and let them not desire great possessions even for their families. Let them do nothing that is mean or that the wise would reprove.May all beings be happy and at their ease. May they be joyous and live in safety.All beings, whether weak or strong - omitting none - in high, middle, or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far away, born or to be born: may all things be happy and at their ease.Let none deceive another, or despise any being in any state. Let

none by anger or ill-will wish harm to another.

Even as a mother watches over and protects her child, her only child, so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living things, radiating friendliness over the entire world, above, below, and all around without limit. So let them cultivate a boundless goodwill toward the entire world, unlimited, free from ill-will or enmity.

Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all their waking hours, let them establish this mindfulness of goodwill, which is the highest state. Abandoning vain discussions, having clear vision, free from sense appetites, those who are perfect will never again know rebirth.

On Marriage 
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
  Kahil Gilbran

 The Privileged Lovers

The moon has become a dancer
at this festival of love.
This dance of light,

This sacred blessing,
This divine love,
beckons us
to a world beyond
only lovers can see
with their eyes of fiery passion. 

They are the chosen ones
who have surrendered.
Once they were particles of light
now they are the radiant sun.

They have left behind
the world of deceitful games.
They are the privileged lovers
who create a new world
with their eyes of fiery passion.


'We are each a secret to the other. To know one another cannot mean to know everything about each other; it means to feel mutual affection and confidence, and to believe in one another. We must not try to force our way into the personality of another. To analyse others is a rude commencement, for there is a modesty of the soul which we must recognise just as we do that of the body. No one has a right to say to another: "Because we belong to each other as we do, I have a right to know all your thoughts." Not even a mother may treat her child in that way. All demands of this sort are foolish and unwholesome. In this matter giving is the only valuable process; it is only giving that stimulates. Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them.' Albert Schweitzer

'You are a part of me. I do not know
By what slow chemistry you first became
A vital fibre of my being.
Go Beyond the rim of time or space, the same
Inflections of your voice will sing their way
Into the depths of my mind still. Your hair
Will gleam as bright, the artless play
Of word and glance, gesture and the fair
Young fingers waving, have too deeply etched
The pattern of your soul on mine. Forget
Me quickly as a laughing picture sketched
On water, I shall never know regret
Knowing no magic ever can set free
That part of you that is a part of me.'
Frank Yerby


Blessing For A Marriage

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding. May you always need one another - not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, "I love you!" and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another's presence - no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May y
ou have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another!  James Dillet Freeman 

Shakespeare on Love

Sonnet 18  Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate...
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Sonnet 116 Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! It is an ever-fix'd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

'A successful marriage is one where each partner discovers that it is better to give love than to receive it. To truly love another person is to wish that person to develop and flourish in his or her own terms. In a long marriage there will be joy and laughter, but also sadness and sorrow, harmony and discord, as you strive to overcome adversity and fulfil your dreams.The key value of wedlock is that it allows for intimacy between a woman and a man, who can enjoy each other's company, share ideals and expectations, confess failures and admit defeats to each other, and yet realise in union the qualities of the good life.As you build your home, embark upon careers, and raise a family, your marriage can become a work of art in which both of you together give it line and form, colour and tone. You will be challenged every day and in every way to make your marriage work. If you do, it can become a thing of beauty, a joint creation of aesthetic" Paul Kurtz

An Irish Wedding Blessing
You are the star of each night,
You are the brightness of every morning,
You are the story of each guest,
You are the report of every land.
No evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank,
In field or valley, on mountain or in glen.
Neither above, nor below, neither in sea,
Nor on shore, in skies above,
Nor in the depths.
You are the kernel of my heart,
You are the face of my sun,
You are the harp of my music,
You are the crown of my company

Thoughts In a Garden This is a special place, a place where people have brought beautiful living plants, here to establish them, to nurture and care for them, that they may forever surround us with the beauty we now see. And into this place where we stand, you have brought something beautiful -- the relationship that is becoming your marriage. Here you are declaring it and pledging it, promising to establish and nurture it. We are aware of the special beauty between the two of you, just as we are aware of the special beauty of this place. We are with you now in this appropriate place to celebrate your relationship as it is and as it is yet to be, and in doing so, we ask only that you remember how your life together will have the same seasons and needs as this garden. There will be growth like spring and loss like fall; there will be giving as the blossoming flower, and rest as the seed beneath the snow. All the seasons will be yours, but remember, too, that gardens are not must happenings. The more wonderful the garden, the more skilled the gardener. So you will have to care deeply for the life that is yours together, and nurture it. You will have to appreciate your differences and cultivate them. You will have to take care of yourself, if for no other reason than out of love for the other. And you will need the support of family and friends to reach full growth. As you caringly chose this place to declare your marriage, so remember its lessons for your life together through the seasons that are yours to share. And may those seasons bring you and yours joy and happiness.  B R. Gerhardt

Come live with me and be my love,

We'll lay and watch the skies above.
I'll take you out upon the sea,
And show you what it means to me.

The wind will be calm yet lightly blowing,
The cabin's warm with oil's glowing.
Just think of us upon this ocean,
Sipping tea as a soothing potion.

I'll climb up high into the rig above,
To share the starry night with you, my love.
The sails will be full with autumn's breeze,
Our bow dipping gracefully into the glowing seas.

And as we dig into my coffers' deep,
You shall behold the things that make women weep.
Bottles of wine from the finest vineyards,
And wool from only the most renowned spinners.

These things and more can be fully your own,
But mostly the beauty that the sea has shown.
The most graceful porpoises will be swimming by,
As the sea birds sing with their siren-like cry.

Precious few have answered our ocean's calling,
Shouting out with eyes bright and bawling.
So take this proposal and fly like the dove,
To come with me and be my love.
  Christopher Sousa

The Covenant of Marriage Marriage has certain qualities of contract, in which two people take on the housekeeping tasks of living, together, to enhance life's joy. However, marriage is more than a contract. Marriage is a commitment to take that joy deep, deeper than happiness, deep into the discovery of who you most truly are. It is a commitment to a spiritual journey, to a life of becoming -- in which joy can comprehend despair, running through rivers of pain into joy again. And thus marriage is even deeper than commitment. It is a covenant -- a covenant that says: I love you. I trust you. I will be here for you when you are hurting, And when I am hurting I will not leave. It is a covenant intended not to provide haven from pain or anger and sorrow. Life offers no such haven. Instead, marriage is intended to provide a sanctuary safe enough to risk loving, to risk living and sharing from the center of oneself. This is worth everything. 

Oh, to be lying,
On a beach,
With sand in my toes,
And the wind,
In my hair.

And only the sound,
Of the seagulls,
On high,
On a beach,
Under sunny blue sky.

The gentle caress,
Of the waves,
On the shore,
And you close,
Beside me,
Could I ask for more?

A soft sandy beach,
That goes on,
You, me,
And a beach,
So happy together
Linda Harnett 

 I do … want to laugh with you, learn with you, grow with you. I do. I do want to be with you all my life through, for I love you with all of my heart, and today I'm so happy to tell you  - I do.

"Are you the new person drawn toward me?"
Darest thou now O soul,
Walk out with me toward the unknown region,
Where neither ground is for the feet nor any path to follow?
No map there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.
I know it not O soul,
Nor dost thou, all is a blank before us,
All waits undream'd of in that region, that inaccessible land....
Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it is so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloyed satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this facade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all maya, illusion?
"Are you the new person drawn toward me?"
Walt Whitman

Allons! whoever you are come travel with me!
Traveling with me you find what never tires.
The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first,
Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop'd,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
Allons! we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling we cannot remain here,
However shelter'd this port and however calm these waters wemust not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted to receive it but a little while.

Allons! the inducements shall be greater,
We will sail pathless and wild seas,
We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.
Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements,
Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity;
Allons! from all formules! ...
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
Walt Whitman

Corridors of the soul! The soul that is like a young woman!
You clear light
And the brief history
And the joy of a new life
Oh turn and be born again, and walk the road,
and find once more the lost path!
... walk through life in dreams
out of love of the hand that leads us.
Antonia Machado  



Still, I am prepared for this voyage, and for anything else
you may care to mention.
Not that I am afraid, but there is very little time left.
You have probably made travel arrangements, and know the feeling.
Suddenly, one morning, the little train arrives in the station,
but oh, so big!
... Now we are both setting sail into the purplish evening. I love it! This cruise can never last long enough for me. ... Ribbons are flung, ribbons of cloud
And the sun seems to be coming out. But there have been so many false alarms
No, it's happened! The storm is over. Again the weather is fine and clear.

And the voyage? It's on! Listen everybody, the ship is starting,
I can hear its whistle's roar! We have just enough time to make
It to the dock.

And away they pour, in the sulfurous sunlight,
To the aqua and silver waters where stands the glistening white ship
And into the great vessel they flood, a motley and happy crowd,
Chanting and pouring down hymns on the surface of the ocean
Pulling tugging us along with them by means of streamers,
Gold and silver confetti. Smiling, we laugh and sing
With the revelers
Bur are not quite certain that we want to go - the dock is so
Sunny and warm
The majestic ship will pull up anchor who knows where?
And full of laughter and tears, we sidle one again with the
Other passengers
The ground is heaving under foot. Is it the ship? It could
Be the dock
And with a great whoosh the sails go up
Into the secretive, vaporous night with all of us!
Into the unknown, the unknown that loves us, the great unknown
. John Ashbery

Tonight is a night of union and also of scattering of the stars, for a bride is coming from the sky: the full moon. The sky is an astrolabe, and the Law is Love. JALAL AL-DIN RUMI

Therefore must the bride below have a canopy, all beautiful with decorations prepared for her, in order to honor the Bride above, who comes to be present and participate in the joy of the bride below. For this reason it is necessary that the canopy be as beautiful as possible, and that the Supernal Bride be invited to come and share in the joy. "Terumah," in the Zohar

The chuppah stands on four poles.
The home has four corners.
The chuppah stands on four poles.
The marriage stands on four legs.
Four points loose the winds
that blow on the walls of the house,

the south wind that brings the warm rain,
the east wind that brings the cold rain,
the north wind that brings the cold sun and the snow,
the long west wind bringing the weather off the far plains.
Here we live open to the seasons.
Here the winds caress and cuff us
contrary and fierce as bears.
Here the winds are caught and snarling
in the pines, a cat in a net clawing
breaking twigs to fight loose.
Here the winds brush your face
soft in the morning as feathers
that float down from the dove's breast.
Here the moon sails up out of the ocean
dripping like a just washed apple.
Here the sun wakes us like a baby.
Therefore the chuppah has no sides.
It is not a box.
It is not a coffin.
It is not a dead end.
Therefore the chuppah has no walls.
We have made a home together
open to the weather of our time.
We are mills that turn in the winds of struggle
converting fierce energy into bread.
The canopy is the cloth of our table
where we share fruit and vegetables
of our labor, where our care for the earth
comes back and we take its body in ours.
The canopy is the cover of our bed
where our bodies open their portals wide,
where we eat and drink the blood
of our love, where the skin shines red
as a swallowed sunrise and we burn
in one furnace of joy molten as steel
and the dream is fresh and flower.
O my love 0 my love we dance
under the chuppah standing over us
like an animal on its four legs,
like a table on which we set our love
as a feast, like a tent
under which we work not safe
but no longer solitary in the searing heat of our time
MARGE PIERCY,  on her marriage to Ira Wood

Blessed are you, Holy One of All, who created joy and gladness, bride and bridegroom, mirth and song, pleasure and delight, love, fellowship, peace and friendship....The Hebrew "Seven Blessings"
Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation and giver of all grace. Look with favour upon the world you have made and for which your son gave his live and especially upon this man and woman whom you make one flesh in Holy Matrimony.
Give them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorry and a companion in joy.
Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will, and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life.
Give them grace when they hurt each other to recognise and acknowledge their fault and to seek each others forgiveness and yours.
Make their life together a sign of Christ's love and to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, for­giveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.
Bestow on them, if it is your will, the gift and heritage of children, and the grace to bring them up to know you, to love you, and to serve you.
Give them such fulfillment of their mutual affection that they may reach out in love and concern for others.
Grant that all married persons who have witnessed these vows may find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed.
Grant that the bonds of our common humanity, by which all your children are united one to another, and the living to the dead, may be so transformed by your grace, that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven; where, 0 Father, with your Son and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign in perfect unity, now and for ever.
The Book of Common Prayer

The maiden is the daughter of light ...
Delightful is the sight of her, Radiant with shining beauty.
Her garments are like spring flowers,
And a scent of sweet fragrance is diffused from them .. Truth rests upon her head.
By the movements of her feet, she shows forth joy ...
Her two hands make signs and secret patterns, describing the dance of the blessed aeons.
Her fingers open the gates of the city. Her chamber is full of light ... Her bridesmaids are seven, Who dance before her.
Twelve are they who serve her
And are subject to her,
Gazing toward the bridegroom
That by the sight of him they may be enlightened; And forever be with him in eternal joy. Bride and groom shall be at that marriage ... And both shall be in joy and exultation.
And thus they glorified and praised, with the living Spirit, The Father of Truth and the Mother of Wisdom.
from the apocryphal Acts of Thomas, translation by R. McL. Wilson

Nothing happens without a cause. The union of this man and woman has not come about accidentally but is the foreordained result of many past lives. This tie can therefore not be broken or dissolved.
In the future, happy occasions will come as surely as the morning. Difficult times will tome as surely as night. When things go joyously, meditate according to the Buddhist tradition. When things go badly, meditate. Meditation in the manner of the Compassionate Buddha will guide your life.
To say the words "love and compassion" is easy. But to accept that love and compassion are built upon patience and perseverance is not easy. Your marriage will be firm and lasting if you remember this.
Buddhist marriage homily

At the Wedding March
God with honour hang your head,
Groom, and grace you, bride, your bed
With lissome scions, sweet scions,
Out of hallowed bodies bred.

Each be other's comfort kind:
Deep, deeper than divined. Divine charity, dear charity,
Fast you ever, Fast bind.

Then let the march tread our ears:
I to him turn with tears
Who to wedlock, his wonder wedlock,
Deals triumph and immortal years.
Gerald Manley Hopkins


When our two souls stand up erect and strong, Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher, Until the lengthening wings break into fire At either curved point,-what bitter wrong Can the earth do us, that we should not long Be here contented! Think. In mounting higher, The angels would press on us and aspire To drop some golden orb of perfect song Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay Rather on earth, Beloved-where the unfit Contrarious moods of men recoil away And isolate pure spirits, and permit A place to stand and love in for a day ...Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

Marriage is a solemn and religious tie; and therefore the pleasure we take from it should be restrained, serious and seasoned with a certain gravity.... A good marriage-if there be any-rejects the company and conditions of love and seeks to reproduce those of friendship. It is a sweet companionship of life, full of trust and an infinite number of useful and solid services and mutual obligations....
That few are observed to be happy is a token of its value and price. If well-formed and rightly taken, there is not a finer estate in human society. Though we cannot live without it, yet we do nothing but decry it. We see the same with bird-cages: the birds outside despair to get in and those within despair to get out.
Michel De Montaigne 

I hereby give myself. I love you. You are the only being whom I can love absolutely with my complete self, with all my flesh and mind and heart. You are my mate, my perfect partner, and I am yours. You must feel this now, as I do.... It was a marvel that we ever met. It is some kind of divine luck that we are together now. We must never, never part again. We are, here in this, necessary beings, like gods. As we look at each other we verify, we know, the perfection of our love, we recognise each other. Here is my life, here if need be is my death. It's life and death, as if they were to destroy Israel-if I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem-Iris Murdoch 

 My grief has ended. Comes now the season of joy.
For the flowers of Spring are jeweling my green garden. Let us make ready to walk through its paths. Go! Tell the nightingale that Spring is here.
And tell the minstrel to come with his lute.
Let him sing us a ballad of the flowers of Spring. Do not listen to the parrot whispering to the rose That Autumn will soon be here.
With spring my love returned to me,
And again I behold the moon of my delight. Let others have their various festivals. My only festival is when, in Spring, I see my love's narrow feet
Step through the garden like lisping twin flowers. Then Khushal Khan puts on his brightest robes And enters the bazaar of his love's soft arms.
Afghan Love song

My boat is of ebony,
the holes in my flute are golden.
As a plant takes out stains from silk so wine takes sadness from the heart.
When one has good wine,
a graceful boat,
and a maiden's love,
why envy the immortal gods?
Li Tai Po

Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dales and fields And all the craggy mountains yields.
There we will sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses With a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull; Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my love.Christopher Marlowe

The essence of a good marriage is respect for each other's personality combined with that deep intimacy, physical, mental, and spiritual, which makes a serious love between man and woman the most fructifying of all human experiences. Such love, like everything that is great and precious, demands its own morality, and frequently entails a sacrifice of the less tothe greater; but such sacrifice must be voluntary, for, where, is not, it will destroy the very basis of the love for the sake which it is made. Bertrand Russell

Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion, but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting and significant than any romance, however passionate. W.H AUden

 Afternoon in a Bark Yard on Chestnut Street Here are a man and a woman, being married. The entire world of summer lawns holds its breath for the event. The trees around them are lovely, displaying the small breath and motions of August. The couple glance at one another. Where has the moon gone, the requisite moon? Nearby, a mother begs her child, "Try to remember; when did you have it last?" Oh, impossible mystery. Where is joy when it is not here? Time says nothing. These things can happen, and will, while children at the yard's border play among grown-ups tasting the summer's wine.
Memory looks at its watch, smiling. The moon will begin to come round the way it always did but we'd forgotten.
The lovers touch hands and think of some place they want to be, and go there. The child, happy at last, has remembered where its lost ball is. In the the garden the pink phlox and the lilies show off, between the old moon here in the hot sky and the one to come. Everyone hugs or shakes hands and walks off toward the future, waving. The man and woman look at each other.
They know it means happiness, this year. They do.
David Kellett

Letter to her daughter You learned from me that commitment, love, loyalty, "being there" are at the center of everything. I taught you, by example, that life is very complex, that there are no final solutions, there is only the commitment to the search for quality and genuineness. I taught you to treasure the real and to shun the plastic. I taught you to value human relationships, to run away from bigotry and to expose it when you find it. I taught you to believe in the value of books, to respect education and learning, to admire goodness and integrity and wisdom. Let's not forget humor. Above all, perhaps, I taught you by example that a thoughtful and examined life requires difficult choices; that there are, for such a life, no instant fixes. We live in a society which sells trivial answers for every complex human dilemma. In our household, from our example, you were able to draw on a different set of strengths, not available in the ambient society of your growing up. I see all of these strengths in your life now. You have become the kind of woman I dreamed of raising. Rachael Levine

Song for a Country Wedding We have come in the winter To this warm country room, The family and friends Of the bride and the groom, To bring them our blessing, To share in their joy, and to hope that years passing The best measures employ To protect their small clearing, and their love be enduring.
May the hawk that flies over these thick-wooded hills,
Where through tangled ground cover With its cushion of quills,
The plump porcupine ambles And the deer come to browse While through birches and brambles Clear cold water flows,
Protect their small clearing, ,And their love be enduring.
May the green leaves returning To rock maples in spring Catch fire, and, still burning, Their flaming coat fling On the lovers when sleeping To contain the first chill Of crisp autumn weather With log-fires that will protect their small clearing,
And their love be enduring.
May the air that grows colder Where the glacier has left Its erratic boulder Mountain water has cleft,
And the snow then descending No less clear than their love Be a white quilt depending From sheer whiteness above
To protect their small clearing,
And their love be enduring.
William Jay Smith


Love's Philosophy The Fountains mingle with the River
And the Rivers with
the Ocean, The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another; No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother, And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea: What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Live You by Love Live you by love confined,
There is no nearer nearness; Break not his light bounds, The stars' and seas' harness: There is nothing beyond,
We have found the land's end. We'll take no mortal wound Who felt him in the furnace, Drowned in his fierceness, By his midsummer browned: Nor ever lose awareness Of nearness and farness
Who've stood at earth's heart careless Of suns and storms around,
Who have leant on the hedge of the wind, On the last ledge of darkness ...
C. Day Lewis 

I will woo her, I will go with her into the wilderness and comfort her: there I will restore her vineyards, turning the Vale of Trouble into the Gate of Hope, and there she will answer as in her youth, when she came up out of Egypt. On that day she shall call me, "My husband . . ."
Then I will make a covenant on behalf of Israel with the wild beasts, the birds of the air, and the things that creep on the earth, and I will break bow and sword and weapon of war and sweep them off the earth, so that all living creatures may lie down without fear. I will betroth you to myself forever, betroth you in lawful wedlock with unfailing devotion and love; I will betroth you to myself to have and to hold, . . . I will answer for the heavens, and they will answer for the earth, and the earth will answer for the corn, the new wine and the oil.

O Morning Star! when you look down upon us, give us peace and refreshing sleep. Great Spirit! bless our children, friends, and visitors through a happy life. May our trails lie straight and level before us. Let us live to be old. We are all your children and ask these things with good hearts. Hymn of the Great Plains Indians to the sun

O Spirit, grant us a calm lake, little wind, little rain, so that the canoes may proceed well, so that they may proceed speedily. Tanganyikan fishermen's prayer

May you be for us a moon of joy and happiness. Let the young become strong and the grown man maintain his strength, the pregnant woman be delivered and the woman who has given birth, suckle her child. Let the stranger come to the end of his journey and those who remain at home dwell safely in their houses. Let the flocks that go to feed in the pastures return happily. May you be a moon of harvest and of calves. May you be a moon of restoration and of good health. African prayer to the new moon

Let us all wear furs.
We shall not keep hidden What we have learned. We shall preserve What we have found.We have decided here and now t marry our son and daughter. Therefore, Oh goddess of Fire, hearken and be witness. Protect this pair from every illness; watch over them so that they may grow old.
-Mongolian prayers


Love? I will tell thee what it is to love!
It is to build with human thoughts a shrine,
Where Hope sits brooding like a beauteous dove;
Where Time seems young, and Life a thing divine.
All tastes, all pleasures, all desires combine
To consecrate this sanctuary of bliss.
Above, the stars in cloudless beauty shine;
Around, the streams their flowery margins kiss;
And if there's heaven on earth, that heaven is surely this.

Yes, this is love, the steadfast and the true,
The immortal glory which hath never set;
The best, the brightest boon the heart e'er knew:
Of all life's sweets the very sweetest yet!
O' who but can recall the eve they met
To breathe, in some green walk, their first young vow?
While summer flowers with moonlight dews were wet,
And winds sighed soft around the mountain's brow,
And all was rapture then which is but memory now!
Charles Swain

These I can promise I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold;I cannot promise you an easy pathway,That leads away from change or growing old.But I can promise all my heart's devotion;A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;A love that's ever true and ever growing;A steady hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.A love that's ever true and ever growing;A steady hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow. Mark Twain

You are my husband, 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, think because of you, and I shall love because of you. Eskimo love song

0, You who dwell in Tsegihi,
In the house made of dawn,
In the house made of evening twilight, In the house made of dark cloud,
In the house made of the he-rain, of the dark mist,
In the house made of the she-rain, of pollen, of grasshoppers, Where the dark mist curtains the doorway, The path to which is the rainbow,
Where the zigzag lightning stands high on top,
Oh, divinity!
With your moccasins of dark cloud, come to us,
With your leggings and shirt and headdress of dark cloud, come
to us,
With your head enveloped in dark cloud, come to us, With the dark thunder above you, come to us, soaring, With the shapen cloud at your feet, come to us, soaring, With the far darkness made of the dark cloud over your head,
come to us, soaring.
With the far darkness made of the rain and the mist over your
head, come to us, soaring.
With the zigzag lightning flung out on high over your head, With the rainbow hanging high over your head, come to us,
With the far darkness made of the dark cloud on the ends of
your wings,
With the far darkness made of the rain and the mist on the ends
of your wings, come to us, soaring.
With the zigzag lightning, with the rainbow hanging high on
the ends of your wings, come to us, soaring.
With the near darkness made of the dark cloud of the he-rain
and the she-rain, come to us,
With the darkness on the earth, come to us.
With these I wish the foam floating on the flowing water over
the roots of the great corn.
I have made your sacrifice,
I have prepared a smoke for you, My feet restore for me.
My limbs restore, my body restore, my mind restore, my voice
restore for me.
Today, take out your spell for me, Today, take away your spell for me,

Away from me you have taken it,
Far off from me it is taken,

Far off you have done it.
Happily I recover,
Happily I become cool,
My eyes regain their power, my head cools, my limbs regain the strength, I hear again.
Happily I walk; impervious to pain, I walk; light within, I walk; joyous, I walk.
Abundant dark clouds I desire,
An abundance of vegetation I desire,
An abundance of pollen, abundant dew, I desire.
Happily may fair white corn, to the ends of the earth, come
with you.
Happily may fair yellow corn, fair blue corn, fair corn of all
kinds, plants of all kinds, goods of all kinds, jewels of all
kinds, to the ends of the earth, come with you.
With these before you, happily may they come with you, With these behind, below, above, around you, happily may
they come with you,
Thus you accomplish your tasks.
Happily, the old men will regard you,
Happily, the old women will regard you,
The young men and the young women will regard you, The children will regard you,
The chiefs will regard you,
Happily, as they scatter in all directions, they will regard you. Happily, as they approach their homes, they will regard you. May their roads home be on the trail of peace, Happily may they all get back.
In beauty I walk,
With beauty before me, I walk,
With beauty behind me, I walk,
With beauty below and above me, in the beauty about me, I
It is finished in beauty. It is finished in beauty. It is finished in beauty.
Navajo hymn to the Thunderbird, translation by Washington Matthews

To the West:
Over there are the mountains. May you see them as long as you live, for from them you receive sweet pine for incense.
To the North;

Strength will come from the North. May you look for many years upon the Star that never moves.
To the East:

Old age will come from below, from where comes the light of the Sun.
To the South: May warm winds of the South bring you food.

  Blackfoot prayer to the four directions

To the Mound of the East: Spring

Under the influence of the vernal yang, the vegetation is reborn. The time of fertilizing rains, the time of love.
The thunder sounds and wakes the hibernating creatures. That which seemed dead revives, and pursues its destiny.
May the innumerable new beings live their life to its end. May the crowd of the living fully enjoy the happiness of the vernal spring.To the Mound of the South: Summer

The red light grows, heat increases, The flowering trees are in full splendor.
After the flowers will come fruits, plentiful and savory ...
To the Mound of the West: Autumn
The West is the region of white light. Autumn wind gently kills the vegetation. But the seeds of the plants are preserved. They contain the germ of the spring to come.
To the Mound of the North: Winter
Somber is the region of the North. All beings which hibernate have gone into the earth.
Vegetables have lose their leaves, and frost freezes the land ... May the people, remembering their origin, retain love for simplicity....
May they make offerings, may they prepare the lands, in order that their next harvest may be abundant.
Chinese prayer to the four directions

The life in us is like the water in the river. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it, and flood the parched uplands; even this may be the eventful year, which will drown out all our muskrats. It was not always dry land where we dwell. I see far inland the banks which the stream anciently washed, before science began to record its freshets. Every one has heard the story which has gone the rounds of New England, of a strong and beautiful bug which came out of the dry leaf of an old table of apple-tree wood, which had stood in a farmer's kitchen for sixty years, first in Connecticut, and afterward in Massachusetts,-from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still, as appeared by counting the annual layers beyond it; which was heard gnawing out for several weeks, hatched perchance by the heat of an urn.... Who knows what beautiful and winged life, whose egg has been buried for ages under many concentric layers of woodenness in the dead dry life of society, deposited at first in the alburnum of the green and living tree, which has been gradually converted into the semblance of its well-seasoned tomb,-heard perchance gnawing out now for years by the astonished family of man, as they sat round the festive board,-may unexpectedly come forth from amidst society's most trivial and handselled furniture, to enjoy its perfect summer life at last!

... such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star

. Henry David Thoreau

A Marriage.....
Make of two fractional lives
A whole;
It gives to two purposeless lives
a work, and doubles the strength
of each to perform it;
it give to two
questioning natures
a reason for living,
and something to live for;
it will give a new gladness to the sunshine,
a new fragrance to the flowers,
a new beauty to the earth,
and a new mystery to life.

Mark Twain

Holy the Firm Every day is a god, each day is a god, and holiness holds forth in time. I worship each god, I praise each day splintered down, splintered down and wrapped in time like a husk, a husk of many colors spreading, at dawn fast over the mountains split.
I wake in a god. I wake in arms holding my quilt, holding me as best they can inside my quilt.
Someone is kissing me-already. I wake, I cry, "Oh," I rise from the pillow. Why should I open my eyes,
I open my eyes. The god lifts from the water. His head fills the bay. He is Puget Sound, the
Pacific; his breast rises from pastures; his fingers are firs; islands slide wet down his shoulders. Islands slip blue from his shoulders and glide over the water, the empty, lighted water like a stage.
Today's god rises, his long eyes flecked in clouds. He flings his arms, spreading colors; he arches, cupping sky in his belly; he vaults, vaulting and spread, holding all and spread on me like skin....
The day is real....
The day is real. . . . I stand and smooth the quilt.

"Oh," I cry, "Oh!" ANNIE DILLARD

Traditional blessing May your joys be as bright as the morning, and your sorrows merely be shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you happy, enough failure to keep you humble, enough success to keep you eager, enough friends to give you comfort, enough faith and courage in yourself to banish sadness, enough wealth to meet your needs and one thing more; enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday.

Traditional Blessing  May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, Slow to make enemies, And quick to make friends, But rich or poor, quick or slow, May you know nothing but happiness, From this day forward.

You're the nicest thing I've ever seen
All I know is that you're so nice
You're the nicest thing I've seen
I wish that we could give it a go
See if we could be something

I wish I was your favourite girl
I wish you thought I was the reason you are in the world
I wish my smile was your favourite kind of smile
I wish the way that I dressed was your favourite kind of style

I wish you couldn't figure me out
But you always wanna know what I was about
I wish you'd hold my hand
When I was upset
I wish you'd never forget
The look on my face when we first met

I wish you had a favourite beauty spot
That you loved secretly
'Cause it was on a hidden bit
That nobody else could see
Basically, I wish that you loved me
I wish that you needed me
I wish that you knew when I said two sugars,
Actually I meant three

I wish that without me your heart would break
I wish that without me you'd be spending the rest of your nights awake
I wish that without me you couldn't eat
I wish I was the last thing on your mind before you went to sleep

Look, all I know is that you're the nicest thing I've ever seen
And I wish that we could see if we could be something

Yeah I wish that we could see if we could be something

Kate Nash

The Prophet on Love Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love,
And he raised his head and looked upon the people,
and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a
great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep,
And when his wings enfold you yield to
Though the sword hidden among his
pinions may would you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he
crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so
is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and
caresses your tenderest branches that quiver
in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake
them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of grain he gathers you unto
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's
sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that
you may know the secrets of your heart, and
in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's
But if in your fear you would seek only
love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your
nakedness and pass out of love's threshingfloor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall
laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep,
but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes
naught but from itself.
Love possesses not not would it be
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is
in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of
And think not you can direct the course of
love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs
your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires,
let these 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
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.

On the radio
This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again
Regina Spektor