Poems and Readings can bring clarity to your intentions for your wedding and are a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the words you choose to share. When Nick and I were preparing for our wedding, we gathered poems and readings that we strongly connected with to weave into our ceremony. Love poems and readings are wonderful to include in your ceremony or to bring a moment of mindfulness to your reception. I encourage you to feature any readings you connect with your for celebration!
1. I Will Love You Forever, from the ‘The Amber Spyglass’, by Phillip Pullman
“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.”
2. Roads Go Ever On by J.R.R Tolkien
“Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.”
3. Except from ‘Gifts from the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“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.”
4. Excerpt from ‘Gift from the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
We have moved through our day like dancers,
Not needing to touch more than lightly
Because we are instinctively moving to the same rhythm.
A good relationship has a pattern like a dance
and is built on some of the same rules.
The partners do not need to hold on tightly,
because they move confidently in the same pattern,
intricate but gay and swift and free,
like a country dance of Mozart’s.
To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern
and freeze the movement,
to check the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding.
There is no place here for the possessive clutch,
the clinging arm, the heavy hand,
only the barest touch in passing.
Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back —
it does not matter which
because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm,
creating a pattern together,
and being invisibly nourished by it.
The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of living in the moment.
Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined.
When the heart is flooded with love,
There is no room for fear,
for doubt, for hesitation.
And it is this lack of fear that makes for the dance.
When each partner loves so completely
That they have forgotten to ask themselves
Whether or not they are loved in return;
When they only know that they love
And are moving to its music – then and then only;
Are two people able to dance perfectly in tune
To the same rhythm.
5. Except from ‘Les Mis’ by Victor Hugo
“What a great thing, to be loved! What a greater thing still, to love! The heart becomes heroic through passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything but what is elevated and great. An unworthy thought can no more spring up in it than a nettle on a glacier.
The lofty and serene soul, inaccessible to common passions and common emotions, rising above the shadows of this world, its follies, its falsehoods, its hatreds, its vanities, its miseries, inhabits the blue of the skies, and no longer feels anything but the deep subterranean commotions of destiny, as the summit of the mountains feels the quaking of the earth.”
6. Sonnet XVII by 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.
7. Deep Listening in a Couple by Thich Nhat Hanh
‘When I meet a couple who live together and are happy, I propose that they set up a regularly structured time of deep listening to help them stay happy together. Deep listening is, most of all, the practice of being present for our loved one. We have to be truly present for the person we love. In the we love there is suffering that we haven’t seen yet. If we haven’t yet understood that person, we can’t be their best friend; we can’t be someone who is able to understand them.
It’s like when an excellent musician finds someone who understands his music; they can become best friends. We listen to each other. We are there for each other. Otherwise, the coming together of two bodies becomes routine and monotonous after a time.If you have the impression that you know the other person inside and out, you are wrong. Are you sure that you even know yourself? Every person is a world to explore.”
8. “To Love is Not to Possess” by James Kavanaugh
“To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.”