here are many reading selections from the bible, contemporary literature, poems, modern humor, Shakespeare and more!

 

Bible Readings

1 Corinthians 13:4-13 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 John 4:16-19 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By thisis love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us

Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

Genesis 2:18-24 Then the LORD God said, “It is not goodthat the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last isbone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Matthew 19:4-6 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,’Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Colossians 3:12-19 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

 Contemporary Literature & Secular

from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably was never was or ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it

A Description of Marriage, Edmund O'Neill

Marriage is a promise of love. It is a commitment to life – to the best two people can find to bring in each other. Marriage offers opportunities for sharing and growth: a physical and emotional 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 friends, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one partner is heartbroken and ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child. Marriage deepens and enriches every fact of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger. Even anger is felt more strongly, but passes more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique in themselves which binds them closer then 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.

Foundation of Marriage by Regina Hill: Love, trust, and forgiveness are the foundations of marriage. In marriage, many days will bring happiness, while other days may be sad. But together, two hearts can overcome everything...In marriage, all of the moments won't be exciting or romantic, and sometimes worries and anxiety will be overwhelming. But together, two hearts that accept will find comfort together. Recollections of past joys, pains, and shared feelings will be the glue that holds everything together during even the worst and most insecure moments. Reaching out to each other as a friend, and becoming the confidant and companion that the other one needs, is the true magic and beauty of any two people together. It's inspiring in each other a dream or a feeling, and having faith in each other and not giving up... even when all the odds say to quit. It's allowing each other to be vulnerable, to be himself or herself, even when the opinions or thoughts aren't in total agreement or exactly what you'd like them to be. It's getting involved and showing interest in each other, really listening and being available, the way any best friend should be. Exactly three things need to be remembered in a marriage if it is to be a mutual bond of sharing, caring, and loving throughout life: love, trust, and forgiveness.

George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?

A Good Marriage,by Wilferd A. Peterson

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 things... 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; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,

it should continue through all the years. 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 not looking for perfection in each other. 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. It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

Apache Wedding Blessing, Extended Version

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life between you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days be good and long upon the earth. 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, difficult 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.

A prayer from the Rig Veda:

Let us be united; Let us speak in harmony; Let our minds apprehend alike. Common be our prayer, Common be the end of our assembly; Common be our resolution; Common be our deliberations. Alike be our feelings; Unified be our hearts; Common be our intentions; Perfect be our unity.

 “Love IS” by Susan Polis Schultz

Love is being happy for the other person when they are happy, Being sad for the other person when they are sad. Being together in good time and being together in bad times. Love is the source of strength. Love is being honest with yourself at all times; being honest with the other person at all times, Telling, listening, respecting the truth and never pretending. Love is the source of reality. Love is an understanding so complete that you feel as if you are a part of the other person, Accepting the other person as they are and not trying to change them to be something else. Love is the source of unity.

Love is the freedom to pursue your own desires, While sharing your experiences with the other person, The growth of one individual along side of and together

with the growth of another individual. Love is the source of success. Love is the excitement of planning things together, the excitement of doing things together. Love is the source of the future. Love is the fury of the storm, the calm of the rainbow. Love is the source of passion. Love is giving and taking in a daily situation, being patient with each other’s needs and desires. Love is the source of sharing. Love is knowing that the other person will always be with you regardless of what happens, Missing the other person when they are away, but remaining near in heart at all times Love is the source of security. Love is the source of life.

 “Angel” by Emilia Larson

May you always have an angel by your side, Watching out for you in all the things you do. Reminding you to keep believing in brighter days, Finding ways for you wishes and dreams to take you to beautiful place. Giving you hope that is as certain as the sun, Giving you the strength of serenity as your guide. May you always have love and comfort and courage. And may you always have an angel by your side, Someone there to catch you if you fall, encouraging your dreams, Inspiring your happiness, holding your hand and helping you through it all. In all of our days, our lives are always changing. Tears come along as well as smiles. Along the rods you travel, may the smiles be lovely. May they give you gifts that never, ever end. Someone wonderful to love and a dear friend in whom you can confide.

Irish 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 your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand. May God be with you and bless you, May you see your children’s children. May you be poor with misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness From this day forward

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home, And may the hand of a friend always be near. May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you. May pure be the joy that surround you, May true be the heart that loves you.

“The Colour of My Love” , By Dave Foster and Arthur Janov

I’ll paint a sun to warm your heat; Knowing that we’ll never part I’ll draw the years all passing by; So much to learn, so much to try I’ll paint my mood in shadow blue; Paint my soul to be with you I’ll sketch your lips in shaded tones; Draw your mouth to my own. I’ll trace a hand to wipe your tears. And trace a look to calm your fears. A silhouette of dark and light; To hold each other oh so tight. I’ll paint the stars in the evening sky; Draw the light into your eyes, A touch of love, a touch of grace; To softly fall on your moonlit face. And with this ring our lives will start; Let nothing keep our love apart. I’ll take your hand to hold in mine; And be together through all time.

Why Marriage? by Mari Nichols

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me, Who won't hold them against me, Who loves me when I'm unlikable, Who sees the small child in me, and Who looks for the divine potential of me... Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night With someone who thanks God for me, With someone I feel blessed to hold... Because marriage means opportunity To grow in love in friendship...

Because marriage is a discipline To be added to a list of achievements... Because marriages do not fail, people fail When they enter into marriage Expecting another to make them whole... Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness;

I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage Together we create our marriage...Because with this understanding....The possibilities are limitless.

On Love, Kempis

Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens every burden, makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God. Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burdens, takes no account of toll, attempts things beyond its strength. Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. It is strange and effective, while those who lack love faint and fall. Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities. Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.

True Love ,Anonymous

True love is a sacred flame That burns eternally, And none can dim its special glow Or change its destiny. True love speaks in tender tones And hears with gentle ear, True love gives with an open heart And true love conquers fear. True love makes no harsh demands It neither rules nor binds, And true love holds with gentle hands The hearts that it entwines.

 “I carry your heart” by E.E. Cummings

I carry you 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 not fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s that is whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will 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 the tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can ide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart I carry you in my heart (I carry it in my heart)

“The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master? And he answered saying: 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 heaven 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 the same cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each others keeping, For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For even the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

 “Definition of Love” by Ann Landers

Love is a friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, it hopes for the future and it doesn't brood over the past. It's the day:in and day:out chronicle of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don't have it, no matter what else there is, it's not enough.

 

And now a poem by Roy Croft entitled: Love

I love you not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out; I love you for putting your hand into my heaped:up heart And passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can’t help dimly seeing there, And for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings That no one else had looked quite far enough to find.

I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life not a tavern but a temple. Out of the works of my every day not a reproach but a song. I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good. And more than any fate could have done to make me happy. You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by being yourself.

 “I Promise” L Dorothy R. Colgan

I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give. I promise to respect you as your own person and to realize that your interests, desires and needs are no less important than my own. I promise to share with you my time and my attention and to bring joy,

strength and imagination to our relationship. I promise to keep myself open to you, to let you see through the window of my world

into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams. I promise to grow along with you, to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how. Completely and forever.

A reading from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte I have for the first time found what I can truly love – I have found you. You are my sympathy – my better self – my good angel – I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely. A fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart. It leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you – and, in kindling a pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.

A Selection from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres:

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises 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.

"Friendship" by Judy Bielicki:

It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel. True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life:it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic. True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential. (Couple) came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.”

“I Am Love" Author Unknown

“Some say I can fly on the wind, yet I haven’t any wings. Some have found me floating on the open sea, yet I cannot swim. Some have felt my warmth on cold nights, yet I have no flame. And though you cannot see me, I lay between two lovers at the hearth of fireplaces. I am the twinkle in your child’s eyes. I am hidden in the lines of your mother's face. I am your father's shield as he guards your home. And yet... Some say I am stronger than steel, yet I am as fragile as a tear. Some have never searched for me, yet I am around them always. Some say I die with loss, yet I am endless. And though you cannot hear me, I dance on the laughter of children. I am woven into the whispers of passion. I am in the blessings of Grandmothers. I embrace the cries of newborn babies. And yet... Some say I am a flower, yet I am also the seed. Some have little faith in me, yet I will always believe in them. Some say I cannot cure the ill, yet I nourish the soul. And though you cannot touch me, I am the gentle hand of the kind. I am the fingertips that caress your cheek at night. I am the hug of a child. I am love.”

by Bob Marley

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.

They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever.

Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you.

You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end.

Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”

An excerpt from Jazz by Toni Morrison

It’s nice when grown people whisper to each other under the covers. Their ecstasy is more leaf-sigh than bray and the body is the vehicle, not the point.

They reach, grown people, for something beyond, way beyond and way, way down underneath tissue. They are remembering while they whisper the carnival dolls they won and the Baltimore boats they never sailed on.

The pears they let hang on the limb because if they plucked them, they would be gone from there and who else would see that ripeness if they took it away for themselves?

How could anybody passing by see them and imagine for themselves what the flavor would be like? Breathing and murmuring under covers both of them have washed and hung out on the line, in a bed they chose together and kept together never mind one leg was propped on a 1916 dictionary, and the mattress, curved like a preacher’s palm asking for witnesses in His name’s sake, enclosed them each and every night and muffled their whispering, old-time love. They are under the covers because they don’t have to look at themselves anymore; there is no stud’s eye, no chippie glance to undo them. They are inward toward the other, bound and joined by carnival dolls and the steamers that sailed from ports they never saw.

That is what is beneath their undercover whispers.

From "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.

"It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

From "The Irrational Season" by Madeleine L'Engle

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

o marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

From "Gift 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.

An excerpt from "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway

At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.

An excerpt from "Plato's Symposium"

Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the others sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

A Wedding Reading from Adam Bede, by George Eliot

It was Dinah who spoke first.

'Adam,' she said, 'it is the Divine Will., My soul is so knit with yours that it is but a divided life I live without you. And this moment, now you are with me, and I feel that our hearts are filled with the same love, I have a fulness of strength to bear and do our heavenly Father's will, that I had lost before.'

Adam paused and looked into her sincere loving eyes.

'Then we'll never part any more, Dinah, till death parts us.'

And they kissed each other with a deep joy.

What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life - to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?

"Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love" by Edmund O'Neill

Marriage is a commitment to life,

the best that two people can find and bring out in each other.

It offers opportunities for sharing and growth

that no other relationship can equal.

It is a physical and an emotional 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.

And 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 or 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, new ways of expressing

a love that is deeper than life.

When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage,

they create a spirit unique unto 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 each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

"To Diego and Frida" (Tina Modotti's toast) from the movie Frida

I don't believe in marriage. No, I really don't. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it's a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it's a happy delusion - these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they're about to make each other. But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don't think it's conservative or delusional. I think it's radical and courageous and very romantic.

"Carrie's Poem" from Sex and the City

 His hello was the end of her endings

Her laugh was their first step down the aisle

His hand would be hers to hold forever

His forever was as simple as her smile

He said she was what was missing

She said instantly she knew

She was a question to be answered

And his answer was "I do"

From the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Calvin: What's it like to fall in love?

Hobbes: Well... say the object of your affection walks by...

Calvin: Yeah?

Hobbes: First, your heart falls into your stomach and splashes your innards. All the moisture makes you sweat profusely. This condensation shorts the circuits to your brain and you get all woozy. When your brain burns out altogether, your mouth disengages and you babble like a cretin until she leaves.

Calvin: THAT'S LOVE?!?

Hobbes: Medically speaking.

Calvin: Heck, that happened to me once, but I figured it was cooties!

A Quote from Ogden Nash

To keep your marriage brimming

With love in the loving cup

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it

Whenever you’re right, shut up.

"Yes, I'll marry you" by Pam Ayres

Yes, I'll marry you, my dear,

And here's the reason why;

So I can push you out of bed

When the baby starts to cry,

And if we hear a knocking

And it's creepy and it's late,

I hand you the torch you see,

And you investigate.

Yes, I'll marry you, my dear,

You may not apprehend it,

But when the tumble-drier goes

It's you that has to mend it,

You have to face the neighbour

Should our labrador attack him,

And if a drunkard fondles me

It's you that has to whack him.

Yes, I'll marry you,

You're virile and you're lean,

My house is like a pigsty

You can help to keep it clean.

That sexy little dinner

Which you served by candlelight,

As I do chipolatas,

You can cook it every night!

It's you who has to work the drill

and put up curtain track,

And when I've got PMT it's you who gets the flak,

I do see great advantages,

But none of them for you,

And so before you see the light,

I do, I do, I do!

A Reading from the movie, "The Princess Bride"

Mawwage.

Mawwage is what bwings us togeder today.

Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam.

And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah...

So tweasuwe youw wove...

From "The Hungering Dark" – Frederick Buechner

Matrimony is called holy, because this brave and fateful promise of a man and a woman, to love and honor and serve each other through thick and thin, looks beyond itself to more fateful promises still, and speaks mightily of what human life at its most human and most alive and most holy must always be. Every wedding is a dream, and every word that is spoken there means more than it says, and every gesture - the clasping of hands, the giving of rings - is rich with mystery. And so we hope with every bride and groom, that the love they bear one another, and the joy they take in one another, may help them grow in love for this whole world where their final joy lies.

"You Were Born Together" – Khalil Gibran

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spades in your togetherness. And let the winds of the 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 of you be alone, even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the land 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.

"Sooner or Later" – Anonymous

Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines, and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favorite memories, and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all -- one known only by those who love.

“She Walks in Beauty” - Lord Byron

 She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellow'd to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impair'd the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o'er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

“Roads Go Ever Ever On” - 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.

 “To Be One With Each Other” - George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls

than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen

each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,

to share with each other in all gladness,

to be one with each other in the

silent unspoken memories?

“A White Rose” - John Boyle O’Reilly

The red rose whispers of passion,

And the white rose breathes of love;

O, the red rose is a falcon,

And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud

With a flush on its petal tips;

For the love that is purest and sweetest

Has a kiss of desire on the lips

“Love Is A Great Thing” - Thomas à Kempis

Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good. By itself it makes that is heavy light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven.

It carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all wordly affections, and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity, or by any adversity subdued.

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down.

Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.

Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent and manly.

“Hope Is the Thing with Feathers” - Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity

It asked a crumb of me.

"La Reina" ("The Queen") - Pablo Neruda

I have named you queen.

There are taller than you, taller.

There are purer than you, purer.

There are lovelier than you, lovelier.

But you are the queen.

When you go through the streets

No one recognizes you.

No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks

At the carpet of red gold

That you tread as you pass,

The nonexistent carpet.

And when you appear

All the rivers sound

In my body, bells

Shake the sky,

And a hymn fills the world.

Only you and I,

Only you and I, my love,

Listen to me.

"Superbly Situated" - Robert Hershon

 you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to

right from the beginning—a relationship based on

good sense and thoughtfulness in little things 

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments

as breathing regularly and not falling down too often

or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed 

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow

i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects

so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is

how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers

so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting

to tear down the empire state building and replace it

with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness

i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes

i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them 

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house

a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being

in the right place at the right time—come take your seat

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines

fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state

the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve

"A Journey" - Nikki Giovanni, from her book "Those Who Ride the Night Winds"

 It’s a journey…that I propose…I am not the guide…nor technical assistant…I will be your fellow passenger…

Though the rail has been ridden…winter clouds cover…autumn’s exhuberant quilt…we must provide our own guide-posts…

I have heard…from previous visitors…the road washes out sometimes…and passengers are compelled…to continue groping…or turn back…I am not afraid…

I am not afraid…of rough spots…or lonely times…I don’t fear…the success of this endeavor…I am Ra…in a space…not to be discovered…but invented…

I promise you nothing…I accept your promise…of the same we are simply riding…a wave…that may carry…or crash…

It’s a journey…and I want…to go…

"You Came, Too" - Nikki Giovanni

I came to the crowd seeking friends

I came to the crowd seeking love

I came to the crowd for understanding

I found you

I came to the crowd to weep

I came to the crowd to laugh

You dried my tears

You shared my happiness

I went from the crowd seeking you

I went from the crowd seeking me

I went from the crowd forever

You came, too.

"Wild Geese" - Mary Oliver

 You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

 

"Touched By An Angel" - Maya Angelou

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.

 

"To Love is Not to Possess" - 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.

 

"21 Love Poems" - Adrienne Rich

Whenever in this city, screens flicker

with pornography, with science-fiction vampires,

victimized hirelings bending to the lash,

we also have to walk...if simply as we walk

through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties

of our own neighborhoods.

We need to grasp our lives inseparable

from those rancid dreams, that blurt of metal, those disgraces,

and the red begonia perilously flashing

from a tenement sill six stories high,

or the long-legged young girls playing ball

in the junior highschool playground.

No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,

sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,

dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,

our animal passion rooted in the city.

 

"When I Am With You" – Rumi

 When I am with you, we stay up all night.

When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!

And the difference between them.

The minute I heard my first love story

I started looking for you, not knowing

how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.

They're in each other all along.

We are the mirror as well as the face in it.

We are tasting the taste this minute

of eternity. We are pain

and what cures pain, both. We are

the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

I want to hold you close like a lute, so we can cry out with loving.

You would rather throw stones at a mirror?

I am your mirror, and here are the stones.

"Sonnet XVII" - Pablo Neruda

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz

or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:

I love you as certain dark things are loved,

secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries

hidden within itself the light of those flowers,

and thanks to your love, darkly in my body

lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,

I love you simply, without problems or pride:

I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,

so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,

so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

"Falling Stars" - Rainer Maria Rilke

Do you remember still the falling stars

that like swift horses through the heavens raced

and suddenly leaped across the hurdles

of our wishes--do you recall? And we

did make so many! For there were countless numbers

of stars: each time we looked above we were

astounded by the swiftness of their daring play,

while in our hearts we felt safe and secure

watching these brilliant bodies disintegrate,

knowing somehow we had survived their fall.

"Fidelity" - D.H. Lawrence

 Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers

in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.

Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae,

older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.

And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love

slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks

of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,

a man's heart and a woman's,

that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,

the sapphire of fidelity.

The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

"Coming Home" - Mary Oliver

 When we’re driving, in the dark,

on the long road

to Provincetown, which lies empty

for miles, when we’re weary,

when the buildings

and the scrub pines lose

their familiar look,

I imagine us rising

from the speeding car,

I imagine us seeing

everything from another place — the top

of one of the pale dunes

or the deep and nameless

fields of the sea —

and what we see is the world

that cannot cherish us

but which we cherish,

and what we see is our life

moving like that,

along the dark edges

of everything — the headlights

like lanterns

sweeping the blackness —

believing in a thousand

fragile and unprovable things,

looking out for sorrow,

slowing down for happiness,

making all the right turns

right down to the thumping

barriers to the sea,

the swirling waves,

the narrow streets, the houses,

the past, the future,

the doorway that belongs

to you and me.

"Litany" - Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,

the crystal goblet and the wine.

You are the dew on the morning grass

and the burning wheel of the

sun.

You are the white apron of the baker

and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,

the plums on the counter,

or the house of cards.

And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.

There is just no way you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,

maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,

but you are not even close

to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show

that you are neither the boots in the corner

nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,

speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,

the evening paper blowing down an alley,

and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees

and the blind woman’s tea cup.

But don’t worry, I am not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife.

You will always be the bread and the knife,

not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

 

Shakespeare Wedding Readings from Love Poems and Sonnets

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:

Oh, no!

It is an ever-fixed 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 proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

 "Sonnet 115"

Those lines that I before have writ do lie,

Even those that said I could not love you dearer:

Yet then my judgment knew no reason why

My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.

But reckoning Time, whose million'd accidents

Creep in 'twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,

Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,

Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;

Alas! why, fearing of Time's tyranny,

Might I not then say, 'Now I love you best,'

When I was certain o'er incertainty,

Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?

Love is a babe, then might I not say so,

To give full growth to that which still doth grow?

"Sonnet 75"

So are you to my thoughts as food to life,

Or as sweet-season'd showers are to the ground;

And for the peace of you I hold such strife

As 'twixt a miser and his wealth is found;

Now proud as an enjoyer and anon

Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure,

Now counting best to be with you alone,

Then better'd that the world may see my pleasure;

Sometime all full with feasting on your sight

And by and by clean starved for a look;

Possessing or pursuing no delight,

Save what is had or must from you be took.

Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,

Or gluttoning on all, or all away.

An excerpt from the poem Venus and Adonis

Love comforteth like sunshine after rain,

But Lust's effect is tempest after sun;

Love's gentle spring doth always fresh remain,

Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done;

Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies;

Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.

"Sonnet 29"

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,

Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings

A Wedding Reading from Love's Labours Lost Act 4, scene 3

But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,

Lives not alone immured in the brain;

But, with the motion of all elements,

Courses as swift as thought in every power,

And gives to every power a double power,

Above their functions and their offices.

It adds a precious seeing to the eye;

A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind;

A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound,

When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd:

Love's feeling is more soft and sensible

Than are the tender horns of cockl'd snails;

Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste:

For valour, is not Love a Hercules,

Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?

Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical

As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair:

And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods

Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.

Never durst poet touch a pen to write

Until his ink were temper'd with Love's sighs;

O, then his lines would ravish savage ears

And plant in tyrants mild humility.

From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:

They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;

They are the books, the arts, the academes,

That show, contain and nourish all the world:

Else none at all in ought proves excellent.

From Romeo and Juliet Act 1, scene 5, lines 44-53

Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!

It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night

Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear,

Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.

So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows

As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.

The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,

And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand.

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!

For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

A wedding reading from Romeo and Juliet Act 2, scene 2, lines 2-25

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

It is the East and Juliet is the sun!

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief

That thou her maid art more fair than she.

Be not her maid, since she is envious.

Her vestal livery is but sick and green,

And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.

It is my lady; O it is my love!

O that she knew she were!

She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.

I am too bold; ‘tis not to me she speaks.

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if he eyes were there, they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars

As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night.

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!

O that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might torch that cheek!

From Romeo and Juliet Act II.scene 2, lines 126-135

(Juliet) What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?

(Romeo) The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.

(Juliet) I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:

And yet I would it were to give again. (135)

(Romeo) Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?

(Juliet) But to be frank, and give it thee again.

And yet I wish but for the thing I have:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.

FromThe Merchant of Venice Act 3, scene 2, lines 16-18

One half of me is yours, the other half yours

Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,

And so all yours.

From Hamlet Act 2, scene 2, lines 116-122

Doubt thou the stars are fire;

Doubt that the sun doth move;

Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt I love.

O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers

I have not art to reckon my groans: but that

I love thee best, O most best, believe it.

From The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, lines 106-117

Honour, riches, marriage-blessing,

Long continuance, and increasing,

Hourly joys be still upon you!

Juno sings her blessings upon you.

Earth's increase, foison plenty,

Barns and garners never empty,

Vines and clust'ring bunches growing,

Plants and goodly burden bowing;(125)

Spring come to you at the farthest

In the very end of harvest!

Scarcity and want shall shun you,

Ceres’ blessing so is on you.

"I Rely on You," by Hovis Presley

I rely on you

like a camera needs a shutter

like a gambler needs a flutter

like a golfer needs a putter

like a buttered scone involves some butter

I rely on you

like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve

like a hairpin needs a drastic curve

like an HGV needs endless derv

like an outside left needs a body swerve

I rely on you

like a handyman needs pliers

like an auctioneer needs buyers

like a laundromat needs driers

like The Good Life needed Richard Briers

I rely on you.

 

Albert Einstein

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.

"Falling in love is like owning a dog," by Taylor Mali

First of all, it's a big responsibility,

especially in a city like New York.

So think long and hard before deciding on love.

On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:

when you're walking down the street late at night

and you have a leash on love

ain't no one going to mess with you.

Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.

Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

Reading on cold winter nights, love is warm.

It lies between you and lives and breathes

and makes funny noises.

Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.

It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love doesn't like being left alone for long.

But come home and love is always happy to see you.

It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,

but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time? No! No!

Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

Love makes messes.

Love leaves you little surprises here and there.

Love needs lots of cleaning up after.

Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.

Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper

and swat love on the nose,

not so much to cause pain,

just to let love know Don't you ever do that again!

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.

Because love loves exercise.

It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.

It pulls you in several different directions at once,

or winds around and around you

until you're all wound up and can't move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.

People who have nothing in common but love

stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,

again, and again, and again.

But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.

And in return, love loves you and never stops.

"Yes, I'll Marry You," by Pam Ayres

Yes, I'll marry you, my dear,

And here's the reason why;

So I can push you out of bed

When the baby starts to cry,

And if we hear a knocking

And it's creepy and it's late,

I hand you the torch you see,

And you investigate.

Yes I'll marry you, my dear,

You may not apprehend it,

But when the tumble-drier goes

It's you that has to mend it,

You have to face the neighbour

Should our labrador attack him,

And if a drunkard fondles me

It's you that has to whack him.

Yes, I'll marry you,

You're virile and you're lean,

My house is like a pigsty

You can help to keep it clean.

That sexy little dinner

Which you served by candlelight,

As I do chipolatas,

You can cook it every night!

It's you who has to work the drill

and put up curtain track,

And when I've got PMT it's you who gets the flak,

I do see great advantages,

But none of them for you,

And so before you see the light,

I do, I do, I do!

"Foxtrot From a Play," by W H Auden

The soldier loves his rifle,

The scholar loves his books,

The farmer loves his horses,

The film star loves her looks.

There's love the whole world over

Wherever you may be;

Some lose their rest for gay Mae West,

But you're my cup of tea.

Some talk of Alexander

And some of Fred Astaire,

Some like their heroes hairy

Some like them debonair,

Some prefer a curate

And some an A.D.C.,

Some like a tough to treat'em rough,

But you're my cup of tea.

Some are mad on Airedales

And some on Pekinese,

On tabby cats or parrots

Or guinea pigs or geese.

There are patients in asylums

Who think that they're a tree;

I had an ant who loved a plant,

But you're my cup of tea.

Some have sagging waistlines

And some a bulbous nose

And some a floating kidney

And some have hammer toes,

Some have tennis elbow

And some have housemaid's knee,

And some I know have got B.O.,

But you're my cup of tea.

The blackbird loves the earthworm,

The adder loves the sun,

The polar bear an iceberg,

The elephant a bun,

The trout enjoys the river,

The whale enjoys the sea,

And dogs love most an old lamp-post,

But you're my cup of tea.

dot!

"Oh the Places You'll Go," by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!

Today is your day.

You're off to Great Places!

You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look'em over with care. About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there." With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

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

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don't worry. Don't stew. Just go right along. You'll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You'll Go!

You'll be on your way up!

You'll be seeing great sights!

You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed. You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't.

Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you'll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't. Because, sometimes, they won't.

I'm afraid that some times you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!

Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you'll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you'll move mountains!

So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!

"The Day the Saucers Came," by Neil Gaimandot!

That day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,

Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,

And the people of Earth stood and

stared as they descended,

Waiting, dry-mouthed, to find what waited inside for us

And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow

But you didn't notice it because

That day, the day the saucers came, by some coincidence,

Was the day that the graves gave up their dead

And the zombies pushed up through soft earth

or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,

Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,

But you did not notice this because

On the saucer day, which was the zombie day, it was

Ragnarok also, and the television screens showed us

A ship built of dead-men's nails, a serpent, a wolf,

All bigger than the mind could hold,

and the cameraman could

Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out

But you did not see them coming because

On the saucer-zombie-battling-gods

day the floodgates broke

And each of us was engulfed by genies and sprites

Offering us wishes and wonders and eternities

And charm and cleverness and true

brave hearts and pots of gold

While giants feefofummed across

the land, and killer bees,

But you had no idea of any of this because

That day, the saucer day, the zombie day,

The Ragnarok and fairies day, the

day the great winds came

And snows, and the cities turned to crystal, the day

All plants died, plastics dissolved, the day the

Computers turned, the screens telling

us we would obey, the day

Angels, drunk and muddled, stumbled from the bars,

And all the bells of London were sounded, the day

Animals spoke to us in Assyrian, the Yeti day,

The fluttering capes and arrival of

the Time Machine day,

You didn't notice any of this because

you were sitting in your room, not doing anything

not even reading, not really, just

looking at your telephone,

wondering if I was going to call.

 

From Douglas Adams' "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish"

There was a sort of gallery structure in the roof space which held a bed and also a bathroom which, Fenchurch explained, you could actually swing a cat in, "But," she added, "only if it was a reasonably patient cat and didn't mind a few nasty cracks about the head. So. Here you are."

"Yes."

They looked at each other for a moment.

The moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from.

For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone long enough with a Swiss cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who wakes one morning to find the door of his cage hanging quietly open and the savanna stretching gray and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

He hadn't realized that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones until it now said something it had never said to him before, which was,"yes."

"All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," by Robert Fulgham

All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned…

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.

Take a nap every afternoon.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

An excerpt from the movie The Princess Bride by William Goldman


“I love you,’ Buttercup said. ‘I know this must come as something of a surprise to you, since all I’ve ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are. How many minutes ago was I? Twenty? Had I brought my feelings up to then? It doesn’t matter.’ Buttercup still could not look at him. The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage. ‘I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now then when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do.

I Wanna Grow Old With You ~ Adam Sandler

I wanna make you smile,
Whenever you're sad.
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad.
All I wanna do,
Is grow old with you.
I'll get you medicine,
When your tummy aches.
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks.
Oh it could be so nice,
Growin' old with you.
I'll miss you, kiss you,
Give you my coat when you are cold.
Need you, feed you.
Even let you hold the remote control.
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink.
Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink.
Oh I could be the man,
Who grows old with you.
I wanna grow old with you.


I Wanna Be Yours ~ John Copper-Clarke
Let me be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust
Let me 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
Let me be your raincoat
For those frequent rainy days
Let me be your dreamboat
When you wanna sail away
Let me be your teddy bear
Take me with you anywhere
I don't care
I wanna be yours
Let me be your electric meter
I will not run out
Let me be the electric heater
You get cold without
Let me be your setting lotion
Hold your hair with deep devotion
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
That's how deep is my emotion
Deep deep deep deep deep deep
I don't wanna be hers I wanna be yours!

Weddings ~ Anonymous
If you go to a wedding, here's what it means
No one wears trainers and no one wears jeans
Your best new clothes are all that you wear
And everyone in your whole family is there
Even some cousins that you've never known
And the grown-ups all say "Oh, how much you have grown!"
So everyone's sitting in one big room
(except Sally and Richard, the bridge and groom)
Then all of a sudden things quieten down
And music starts playing and people turn round
And really slowly, Sally walks in
And she's prettier now than she's ever been.
She's a bridge and she's really great looking today
(when normally she looks just kind of okay)
She walks in and stands with her dad for a while
As Richard her boyfriend, awaits in the aisle
His hair is all combed and he's wearing a tie
And then Sally's mum starts to sniffle and cry.
And now it comes time for the "get-married" part
The Registrar says that we're ready to start
So she talks and she talks about serious things
Then their friend Chris steps up holding two rings
He gives one to the groom and the other to the bride
Then his girlfriend, Janaki pulls him aside.
Then Sally and Richard kind of look at each other
And another big sniffle comes from Sally's mother
And Sally and Richard put on the wedding rings
And they talk and they promise each other some things
They promise that they'll love each other a lot
And help one another no matter what
And be with each other the rest of their life
Then the Registrar says "Now you are husband and wife".
Then everyone's in such a big happy mood
And you go to a party with very much food
Where you dance with some grown-ups and drink some wine
And then do a conga-dance in one long line
'till Sally and Richard drive off in a car
and everyone's thinking how happy they are
So we all yell goodbye and throw handfuls of rice
Then the whole thing is over. Weddings are nice.

Tin Wedding Whistle ~ Ogden Nash
Though you know it anyhow
Listen to me, darling, now, 
Proving what I need not prove
How I know I love you, love. 
Near and far, near and far, I am happy where you are;
Likewise I have never learnt, How to be it where you aren't. 
Far and wide, far and wide, 
I can walk with you beside; 
Furthermore, I tell you what, 
I sit and sulk where you are not. 
Visitors remark my frown
Where you're upstairs and I am down, 
Yes, and I'm afraid I pout
When I'm indoors and you are out; 
But how contentedly I view
Any room containing you. 
In fact I care not where you be, 
Just as long as it's with me. 
In all your absences I glimpse
Fire and flood and trolls and imps. 
Is your train a minute slothful? 
I goad the stationmaster wrothful. 
When with friends to bridge you drive
I never know if you're alive, 
And when you linger late in shops
I long to telephone the cops. 
Yet how worth the waiting for, 
To see you coming through the door. 
Somehow, I can be complacent
Never but with you adjacent. 
Near and far, near and far, 
I am happy where you are; 
Likewise I have never learnt
How to be it where you aren't. 
Then grudge me not my fond endeavor, 
To hold you in my sight forever; 
Let none, not even you, disparage
Such a valid reason for a marriage."

He Never Leaves The Seat Up ~ Pam Ayres
He never leaves the seat up
Or wet towels upon the floor
The toothpaste has the lid on
And he always shuts the door!
She's very clean and tidy
Though she may sometimes delude
Leave your things out at your peril
In a second they'll have moved!
He's a very active person
As are all his next of kin
Where as she likes lazy days
He'll still drag her to the gym!
He romances her and dines her
Home cooked dinners and the like
He even knows her favorite food
And spoils her day and night!
She's thoughtful when he looks at her
A smile upon his face
Will he look that good in 50 years
When his dentures aren't in place?!
He says he loves her figure
And her mental prowess too
But when gravity takes her over
Will she charm with her IQ?
She says she loves his kindness
And his patience is a must
And of course she thinks he's handsome
Which in her eyes is a plus!
They're both not wholly perfect
But who are we to judge
He can be pig headed
Where as she won't even budge!
All that said and done
They love the time they spent together
And I hope as I'm sure you do
That this fine day will last forever.
He'll be more than just her husband
He'll also be her friend
And she'll be more than just his wife
She's be his soulmate 'till the end.

From "First Poems," Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Understand, I'll slip quietly

Away from the noisy crowd

When I see the pale

Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.

I'll pursue solitary pathways

Through the pale twilit meadows,

With only this one dream:

You come too.

 

Our Union, by Hafiz From "Love Poems from God," Daniel Ladinsky (ed), c2002

 

Our union is like this:

You feel cold so I reach for a blanket to cover

our shivering feet.

A hunger comes into your body

so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes.

You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance and

I quickly kneel by your side offering you

a whole book as a

gift.

You ache with loneliness one night so much

you weep, and I say

here is a rope, tie it around me,

Hafiz will be your

companion

for life.

 

From children’s book “Rosie and Michael”

(Parts can be read by Best Man and Maid of Honor]

 

Rosie is my friend. She likes me when I'm dopey and not just when I'm smart. I worry a lot about pythons, and she understands. My toes point in and my shoulders droop, and there's hair growing out of my ears. But Rosie says I look good. She is my friend.

 

Michael is my friend. He likes me when I'm grouchy and not just when I'm nice. I worry a lot about werewolves, and he understands. There's freckles growing all over me, except on my eyeballs and teeth. But Michael says I look good. He is my friend.

 

When my parakeet died, I called Rosie. When my bike got swiped, I called Rosie. When I cut my head and the blood came gushing out, as soon as the blood stopped gushing, I called Rosie. She is my friend.

When my dog ran away, I called Michael. When my bike got swiped, I called Michael. When I broke my wrist and the bone was sticking out, as soon as they stuck it back in, I called Michael. He is my friend.

 

It wouldn't matter if two billion people said she robbed a bank, if Rosie told me she didn't, I'd believe her.

 

Even though his fingerprints were found all over the dagger, if Michael said, "I'm innocent," I'd believe him.

 

If Rosie told me a secret and people hit me and bit me, I wouldn't tell what Rosie's secret was. And then if people twisted my arm and kicked me in the shins, I still wouldn't tell what Rosie's secret was. And then if people said, "Speak up, or we'll throw you in this quicksand," Rosie would forgive me for telling her secret.

 

If Michael told me a secret and people clonked me and bopped me, I wouldn't tell what Michaels' secret was. And then if people bent back my fingers and wrestled me to the ground, I still wouldn't tell what Michael's secret was. And then if people said, "Speak up, or we'll feed you to these piranhas," Michael would forgive me for telling his secret.

Just because I call her a gorilla face, doesn't mean that Rosie's not my friend.

Just because I call him a banana head, doesn't mean that Michael's not my friend.

Sometimes I get on the diving board and decide that I've changed my mind. But Rosie wouldn't laugh. She is my friend.

 

Sometimes I'm climbing up a tree and decide that I'd rather climb down. But Michael wouldn't laugh. He is my friend.

 

Rosie is my friend. When she honest and truly wanted to know if she walked like a kangaroo, I honestly told her.

 

Michael is my friend. When he honest and truly wanted to know if his feet were smelling stinky, I honestly told him.

 

Rosie would try to save me if there was a tidal wave. She'd hunt for me if kidnappers stole me away. And if I was never found again, she could have my Instamatic. She is my friend.

 

Michael would try to save me if a lion attacked. He'd catch me if I jumped from a burning house. And if by mistake he missed the catch, he could have my stamp collection. He is my friend.

 

I'd never get my tonsils out if Rosie didn't too.

 

I'd never move to China without Michael.

I'd give her my last piece of chalk.

 

I'd give him my last Chiclet.

 

Rosie is…

 

Michael is…

 

[TOGETHER] My friend.

 

 

Red Right Ankle by the decemberists

 

this is the story of your red right ankle

and how it came to meet your leg

and how the muscle bone and sinews tangled

and how the skin was softly shaped

and how it whispered 'oh, adhere to me

for we are bound by symmetry

and whatever differences our lives have been

we together make a limb'

this is the story of your red right ankle

 

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.

 

The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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 hearts longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking a fool for love,

for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are square in your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,

if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed down from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving, to hide it, 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 ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true 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 trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the moon in God's presence.

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know, or how you came here.

I want to know if you will stand in the center 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 empty moments.

 

Adrienne Rich, 21 Love Poems

Whenever in this city, screens flicker

with pornography, with science-fiction vampires,

victimized hirelings bending to the lash,

we also have to walk…if simply as we walk

through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties

of our own neighborhoods.

We need to grasp our lives inseparable

from those rancid dreams, that blurt of metal, those disgraces,

and the red begonia perilously flashing

from a tenement sill six stories high,

or the long-legged young girls playing ball

in the junior highschool playground.

No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,

sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,

dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,

our animal passion rooted in the city.

 

From The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

When I am with you, we stay up all night.

When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!

And the difference between them.

The minute I heard my first love story

I started looking for you, not knowing

how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.

They're in each other all along.

We are the mirror as well as the face in it.

We are tasting the taste this minute

of eternity. We are pain

and what cures pain, both. We are

the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

I want to hold you close like a lute, so we can cry out with loving.

You would rather throw stones at a mirror?

 

I am your mirror, and here are the stones.

From The Irrational Season

By Madeleine L'Engle

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take.If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

 

'The Book of Love' by Stephen Merritt (The Magnetic Fields)

From the album 69 Love Songs

 

The book of love is long and boring

No one can lift the damn thing

It's full of charts and facts and figures

and instructions for dancing

But I, I love it when you read to me

And you, you can read me anything

The book of love has music in it

In fact that's where music comes from

Some of it is just transcendental

Some of it is just really dumb

But I, I love it when you sing to me

And you you can sing me anything

The book of love is long and boring

And written very long ago

It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes

And things we're all too young to know

But I, I love it when you give me things

And you, you ought to give me wedding rings

I, I love it when you give me things

And you, you ought to give me wedding rings

 

Picture Books (simple enough for a child reader)

 

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

 

The story of a leaf who isn't ready to let go from the tree.

And then, high up on an icy branch, a scarlet flash.

One more leaf holding tight.

"You're here?" called the Little Yellow Leaf.

"I am," said the Little Scarlet Leaf.

"Like me!" said the Little Yellow Leaf.

Neither spoke.

Finally… "Will you?" asked the Little Scarlett Leaf.

"I will!" said the Little Yellow Leaf.

And one, two, three, they let go and soared.

 

Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton

A penguin pleads his case to a bewildered hippo. (There is also a musical version, sung by Davy Jones from The Monkees.)

I like you a lot.

You're funny and kind.

So let me explain

What I have in mind.

I want to be your personal penguin.

I want to walk right by your side.

I want to be your personal penguin.

I want to travel with you far and wide.

 

Like Likes Like by Chris Raschka

A lone cat sees pairs of animals and longs to find his mate. But first, he learns to appreciate the wonders that he finds on his search. (The illustrations are integral so unless you can show the book, it might not work with words alone.)

Unlike the rest. Unlucky, alone.

Ah. Oh. Rows and rows

of roses.

He sees

seas,

…a breeze, trees

high, wide skies,

…Look!

In luck.

Looks like

like likes like.

Oh. How lucky.

Not alone now,

two together,

in rows and rows

of roses.

 

I Like You by Sandol Stoddard

The many reasons for liking someone.

I like you because

If you find two four-leaf clovers

You give me one

If I find four

I give you two

If we only find three

We keep on looking.

… I like you because if I am mad at you

Then you are mad at me too

It's awful when the other person isn't

They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could

just about punch them in the nose.

… I would go on choosing you

And you would

go on choosing me

Over and over again.

 

Some Things Go Together by Charlotte Zolotow

Pairs of things that go together.

Pigeons with park

Stars with dark

Sand with sea

and you with me.

… Hats with heads

Pillows with beds

Sky with blue

and me with you.

 

Easy Readers and Chapter Books (adults love story time too!)

 

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Mathematics by Norton Juster (film)

A straight and narrow line falls madly in love with a dot.

"You're the beginning and the end, the hub, the core, and the quintessence," he told her tenderly, but the frivolous dot wasn't a bit interested, for she only had eyes for a wild and unkempt squiggle.

 

George and Martha by James Marshall

Two very wise hippos who are supposedly just friends (though we all know there's more going on). I am especially fond of the "Split Pea Soup" chapter.

One day after George had eaten ten bowls of Martha's soup, he said to himself, "I just can't stand another bowl. Not even another spoonful." So, while Martha was out in the kitchen, George carefully poured the rest of his soup into his loafers under the table. "Now she will think I have eaten it." But Martha was watching from the kitchen. "How do you expect to walk home with your loafers full of split pea soup?" she asked George. "Oh dear," said George. "You saw me."

 

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

In "Grandpa's Story," Grandpa tells about a scavenger hunt that all couples had to go on before getting married. A roadmap for all to follow.

This was the Scavenger Hunt, always the most troublesome and feared part of any wedding… But every setback only made us more determined. Scared? Sure, sometimes, but we had each other. That must be what it's all about, we thought: As long as we stick together, nothing can stop us!

"The Whale and the Seagull" from The Squirrel's Birthday and Other Parties by Toon Tellegan

The story of a lonely whale at the bottom of the ocean who is invited to a party for the first time.

They straightened their backs and the whale rested a fin on the seagull's shoulder, while the seagull draped a wing around the whale's middle. Then they danced, silently and seriously, on the moon-drenched beach, to the sound of the slow surf. Everyone held their breath and thought: "No one had ever danced like this before."

 

Sheep and Goat by Marleen Westera

A surprisingly philosophical little book from the perspective of two wooly friends. This comes from the "Happiness" chapter:

"What are you doing?" asks Goat. "I'm looking for happiness," answers Sheep. "Don't waste your time, Sheep. Happiness will find you." "Help me look!" shouts Sheep. "No, I'm much too comfortable here," says Goat. "Then I'll look by myself. But if I find happiness, I'm going to keep it," says Sheep. …

 

"Well, did you find happiness?" asks Goat. "I thought I had. But I was wrong. I'm sorry." "That's all right, Sheep," says Goat. "Would you like a mouthful of hay? It's a little dry today." "It doesn't matter," says Sheep. She takes a big bite. It is dry, and a little dusty. But it tastes like happiness.