Friday 24 April 2015

A Poem Fit for a Ceremony | Readings for Weddings, Commitment and Renewal of Vows Ceremonies

I bought a book of suggested wedding poetry recently. Of course these are relevant for commitment and renewal of vows ceremonies also. It contains some of my favourites but not all of them. Here are a couple of examples of poems I particularly like that feel appropriate for this kind of occasion:

I Would Live in Your Love by Sara Teasdale

I would live in your love as the sea-grasses live in the sea,
Borne up by each wave as it passes, drawn down by each wave that recedes;
I would empty my soul of the dreams that have gathered in me,
I would beat with your heart as it beats, I would follow your soul as it leads.

A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

 My heart is like a singing bird
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
                  Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
                  That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
                  Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
                  Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
                  And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
                  In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
                  Is come, my love is come to me.

I also really love: 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in) by E. E. Cummings which although popular at weddings and similar ceremonies, is I think, also appropriate for a funeral or memorial ceremony.

Vow by Roger McGough

Vow by Clare Shaw

Unlike my fist two examples these latter choices are still in copyright which means I am unable to publish these without permission. If you chose Arwenack Celebrants to prepare and facilitate your ceremony we will provide you with a Ceremony Transcript following your special day. If any of your chosen poems and readings need copyright permission we will obtain this. To look for your own favourite poems or perhaps find some new ones try:

Penguin’s Poems for Weddings Selected by Laura Barber (2014)


If you can’t find anything that you like you can write your own or ask a friend or family member to write one for you. My friend Thom wrote and read a poem for the wedding of one of his friend’s recently. This is how it begins:

Love is made of stuff.
Happy stuff.
Silly stuff.
Cute stuff.
Awwww stuff.
Angry stuff.
And compromising.

It starts with one person, and ends up with two,
And they do this thing where they gather everyone they know,
Well, everyone they like,
And they put them all in one room,
Dressed in best,
To witness them shouting out loud,
‘We are in love!’

There is standing; there is sitting,
And then there is CAKE!. . .

From And then there is cake . . . by T. S. E. Boulton. See Thom’s website for the full version and other examples

Purple Ronnie is another great source. There are several books for sale but also some free poems available via Google or Pinternet. Just a couple of examples follow: 

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