Awesome wedding readings for bad-ass couples

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Thanks to Neil Girling for submitting this photo to the Offbeat Bride Flickr pool.

I've started my search for some offbeat readings for my wedding in October…

Have you compiled a list anywhere of readings from modern literature, songs, etc that are a little edgier and more current than the traditional?


If you're looking for readings that have a few less thou shalts than your typical wedding material, here are a few of my very favorites, which include references to science-fiction vampires, insomnia, and red right ankles.

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

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
for life.

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.

Love by Roy Croft

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
Spider's WebDimly 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.

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

…and that's just the tip of the iceberg! We've got more readings here, and I'd love to invite my readers to share their favorite modern, non-“thou shalt” readings in the comments …

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Comments on Awesome wedding readings for bad-ass couples

  1. a friend recite this native american wedding blessing at my first wedding…

    Now you 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 you.

    Now you are two persons,
    but there is only one life before you.
    Go now to your dwelling place,
    to enter into the days of your togetherness.
    And may your days be good and long together.

  2. so relieved i found this passage, and don’t have to resort to something worn out and tired. for me this says it all.

    on love, khalil gibran
    When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

    For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

    All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

    Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.

    When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.” And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

    Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

    To know the pain of too much tenderness.

    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

    To return home at eventide with gratitude;

    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

    i also chose this passage from the book of ruth 1:16-17

    But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back 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 I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

  3. some lovely ideas! book of love is originally Peter Gabriel’s song by the by…the magnetic fields rendition is fab too.

  4. This one may be a bit macabre for some, but I’ve always loved poems that possess a certain darkness and beauty at the same time. This one is one of my favorites.

    I Want to Die While You Love Me
    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    I want to die while you love me,
    While yet you hold me fair,
    While laughter lies upon my lips
    And lights are in my hair.

    I want to die while you love me,
    And bear to that still bed,
    Your kisses turbulent, unspent
    To warm me when I’m dead.

    I want to die while you love me
    Oh, who would care to live
    Till love has nothing more to ask
    And nothing more to give?

    I want to die while you love me
    And never, never see
    The glory of this perfect day
    Grow dim or cease to be!

  5. There’s a lovely poem from the book ‘Julie of the Wolves’ and within the book it’s referred to as the Eskimo Love Song:

    My feet shall run because of you
    My feet dance because of you
    My heart shall beat because of you
    My eyes see because of you
    My mind thinks because of you
    And I shall love because of you

  6. I really want to use this from the anime Bleach:

    There were a lot of things I wanted to do. I wanted to become a teacher, and an astronaut,
    and a baker. I wanted to go to a bunch of different donut shops and ask for one of everything! And I wanted to tell the ice-cream man to give me one of everything, too! I wish I could have five lives! Then I could have been born in five different towns, and eaten five lifetimes worth of food, and had five different careers, and fallen in love with the same person, five times.

  7. I was looking for poems, offbeat or otherwise, and I found this one.

    The Love-Hat Relationship
    by Aaron Belz

    I have been thinking about the love-hat relationship.
    It is the relationship based on love of one another’s hats.
    The problem with the love-hat relationship is that it is superficial.
    You don’t necessarily even know the other person.
    Also it is too dependent on whether the other person
    is even wearing the favored hat. We all enjoy hats,
    but they’re not something to build an entire relationship on.
    My advice to young people is to like hats but not love them.
    Try having like-hat relationships with one another.
    See if you can find something interesting about
    the personality of the person whose hat you like.

  8. This is going to be our first dance, my fiancé played it for me the night he proprosed:) We only recently found out it’s supposed to be about having kids.

  9. Thank heavens for this site… I was tired of reading Shakespeare! We’re using one traditional (but very short) Bible passage, one serious but secular piece, and one humorous piece. We want our guests to celebrate our love and lives, not cry from boredom!

  10. Hi there, I was really excited to find your site! Thank you for compiling all of these wonderful words.
    I’m not complaining but I have to tell you that the version of The Invitation that you have listed is incorrect. It is one of the most passed poems on the internet and I own the book that the author wrote about this poem. She comments about all the changes that are made especially to the line about being ‘faithLESS’. It is an amazing poem and I can get you a copy of the actual poem (I didn’t think that this was the right place to post that information), if you’d like. If you like the version you have listed, I can’t do anything to alter that. I know that I’d like to know if something was changed and it’s so easy to do that with the internet.
    Again, thank you for posting all of these to help people and I hope I’ve helped you back. Thank you…

  11. I’ve been thinking about this one. I really love it, but my betrothed is not so sure:

    The Fable of the Porcupine

    It was the coldest winter in anyone’s memory, and one animal after another perished in the icy weather. The porcupines saw this and decided the only way they would survive is if they grouped together to share their warmth. Only trouble was, the quills of one porcupine wounded the one next to it, and that one hurt the one next to it, and so on and so on. They stayed warm, all right, but the pain they suffered was just too great. After awhile they edged away to shiver alone. But one by one, they froze to death.

    Even porcupines could see that was never going to do. The only way to keep from disappearing from the earth was to move back together and put up with their neighbors’ painful quills. And that’s what they did.

    So the porcupines learned to live with the little wounds caused by close relationships between companions. Even more important, they learned the gift of lifegiving heat that comes from being together.

    The moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings perfect people together. It is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.

  12. I found this reading, and it fits completely with the non-soppy thing. Love it.

    From ‘Daily Afflictions’ by Andrew Boyd

    We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you have been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there is no right person, just different flavours of wrong.
    Why is this?
    Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners that are wrong in some complimenatry way.
    But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your wrongness. It isn’t until you run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems – the ones that make you who you are – that you are ready to find your life long mate.
    Only then will you finally know what you are looking for.
    You are looking for the wrong person.
    Not just any wrong person. The right wrong person – someone you lovingly gaze upon and think “this is the problem I want to have”

  13. Richard Bach (author/philosopher)

    A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

  14. Question about readings–Do any of you feel odd having a friend read a first person poem about love? Would you avoid it? We love Neruda’s “Sonnet LXIX” but while lines like “I am because you are” just make our hearts go pitter-patter…someone else will say them. (We won’t have any printed materials to put it on, so that’s out.)

    Maybe I don’t care who says it and just want it. Maybe I do care. Do you? Would you?

    • Ya I do feel a little odd having say, my maid of honor or my brother read something that is in first person. But i figure if I decide to go ahead with it because I like that particular reading that much, then I figure the guests won’t even give it a second thought. They obviously know my MOH is not marrying my fiance.

    • As a Wedding Minister, I love reading first person poems. I often bastardize them and insert the couple’s names at the appropriate lines as though they were actually speaking to one another and I was their voice.

      Other times I will write something into the ceremony like, “If I may speak on your behalf.” or “Partner one might describe love (or marriage or whatever we’re talking about) using the words of blah blah blah writer” and then I read a passage that reflects her.

      Then I’ll say, “Partner 2 would describe his thoughts on love (or whatever) like this…” and then I put in a different first person poem or reading that reflects his point of view. The other thing you can do with first person readings is to have two people read them interactively. That way you also get the feel of having two people conversing with each other.

      Of course you don’t want to pick a reading or even a line of a reading that you would be uncomfortable reading, or your reader would be uncomfortable saying. It’s fine to omit the line.

  15. This is a thank you note. I’ve been enjoying all the fun, sweet ideas for readings that I’ve read on other sites too.

    But when I saw The Book of Love, I suddenly burst into happy tears. My fiance introduced me to the song by singing me to sleep with it over the past year, when I’ve been too troubled to rest.

    It’s definitely happening, a capella, at the ceremony. This is one of the few times in my planning that something instantly felt right. Thank you.

  16. OMG! This is fan-freakin-tastic! SERIOUSLY! I’m just disappointed I didn’t find this site when I started wedding planning in January! I typed in “readings for wedding” and the first site that caught my eye was “Awesome Wedding Readings for Bad Ass Couples” and I couldn’t help myself. I can’t quit looking around your site. Amazing…simply amazing!

  17. Some great readings here. My wife just wrote this lovely thing for a friend’s wedding, and I thought I’d share it:

    A Slippery Weasel

    “Sometime you might ask one another, ‘Why do you love me?’ You’ll take turns listing each other’s attributes, but you won’t be able to come up with any reasons. Really, it’s a ‘You’re prettier.’ ‘No, you’re prettier,’ sort of argument. You might get to the end of this conversation feeling a little bit frustrated, because although you’re now full of compliments about how wonderful you are, you won’t have actually gotten to the bottom of it.

    You could try and address the question analytically, and decide that a number of socio-economic factors determined your location in the world and that your proximity to one another and your relative positions within your social circle led to your inevitable coupling. But the coincidences leading to your meeting and realising your attraction won’t get you to the bottom of the question either.

    Love is a slippery little weasel, isn’t it? It can’t be listed, it can’t be held, it can’t be unpacked. It’s often mistaken for that simpering wee ogre, the cupid. Whatever you do, never forget that love can’t be boiled down to an orderly quality. You can’t break up each other’s features into a stack of elements which add up to a reason.

    You might say ‘I love you because you are part of my soul,’ but you know fine well that a soul is an analogy, and that although this statement is true it can only slide off the surface of real meaning like water off a weasel’s fur.

    The most honest answer to ‘Why do you love me?’ is ‘I don’t know.’

    Don’t worry, and don’t wobble; it doesn’t mean you’re uncertain. On the contrary, you know that you don’t know, and this is fantastic bravery of the highest order.

    Nor does it mean that the question is redundant and that you should stop asking each other. Always ask, ‘Why do you love me?’ It will remind you that you love each other, and besides, this conversation never loses its exasperating shine. It is what marriage is made of.”

    Ariadne Cass-Maran

    (If anyone uses this shares this can they please include the link? It’s not an advertise-y thing, it’s just nice for her to know if anyone uses it!

  18. We used the Roy Croft poem, and I loved it– it was sweet and not “the greatest of these is love…” but as I was trying to blend the offbeat and the traditional to appease our varied audience (without sacrificing our own hopes for the day), I think this was a great addition to our ceremony. A++, would read again 😉

  19. The Book of Love was actually originally done by The Monotones in the 50’s. My fiance and I are dancing to this song at our wedding next spring 🙂

    • That’s an awesome song! But the Magnetic Field’s Book of Love and the Monotone’s Book of Love are two different songs that just happen to include a very iconic title.

  20. I just started looking for readings/poems/etc, and I found this gorgeous poem by Sappho. Of course, there are thees and thous in it, but I had a concentration in Classical Studies in college and have loved Sappho for ages. If this is in the wrong section, please let me know and I’ll try to move it to a better place.


    Peer of the gods, the happiest man I seem
    Sitting before thee, rapt at thy sight, hearing
    Thy soft laughter and they voice most gentle,
    Speaking so sweetly.


    Then in my bosom my heart wildly flutters,
    And, when on thee I gaze never so little,
    Bereft am I of all power of utterance,
    My tongue is useless.


    There rushes at once through my flesh tingling fire,
    My eyes are deprived of all power of vision,
    My ears hear nothing by sounds of winds roaring,
    And all is blackness.


    Down courses in streams the sweat of emotion,
    A dread trembling o’erwhelms me, paler than I
    Than dried grass in autumn, and in my madness
    Dead I seem almost.

  21. I heard this one at a wedding recently, and am considering it for mine…

    “It appeared to outsiders that they were at odds. He would test her patience and try to charm his way out of it. She would try impose her will through loosely crafted arguments based on creative feminine logic. He would put on magnificent displays of rhetoric and manipulation, because he liked it when she caught him trying to get away with something. She liked it too.

    Over time though, it became obvious that this was not a fight, or a contest. It was a game. Two sides, back and forth. Advance and defend. A game that was almost as much fun to watch, as it was to play.

    In this game, however, keeping score was never necessary. It was like children playing tic-tac-toe. The minute one round was over, they’d scrawl out another cross-hatched board, barely paying attention who had been victorious only seconds earlier. Even if they had kept score, it would have still been tied after a hundred years of play. Sometimes he’d win, sometimes she would. And sometimes, when it was needed, they’d remind the spectators that they were actually on the same team all along and would do anything for each other.

    Before each other, they hadn’t discovered anybody who could play the game at their level, nor anybody who wished to. But they found each other… and in each other a worthy adversary, a constant companion, and a best friend.

    And they played the game for years and years, until one of them died. The person left standing being defeated by the heart’s greatest loss… and yet, still victorious because everyday they had spent together, the game brought into their hearts the greatest joy and love. Again, it was a tie.”

  22. There is a back story to this, we both have tattoos of a heart shaped lock with each others initials on, we had them done two days after we started dating and neither of us have the key!! so the poem that my boyfriend and I are using is this:
    In your eyes, I have found my home
    In your heart, I have found my love
    In your soul, I have found my mate
    with you, I am whole, full and alive
    you make me laugh, you let me cry
    you are my breathe, my every heartbeat
    I am yours
    you are mine
    of this I am certain
    you are lodged in my heart
    the small key is lost
    you must stay there forever

    you are my insperation and my souls fire
    you are the magic of my days
    you make me laugh, you teach me love
    you provide a safe place for me, unlike I’ve ever known
    you free me to sing my own song
    you are more of an amazement to me and each day I rediscover you
    you are my greatest boon
    I am yours of this I am certain
    you are lodged in my heart
    the small key is lost
    you must stay there forever

    I hope that it brings some insperation to someone else 😀

  23. I would like to make the comment that the Madeline L’Engle quote, is rather a mash-up of quotes from chapter 4 of the Irrational Season. I desperately wish she had intended for these sentences to be uttered together. Alas, in her book, there are other sentences that separate them.
    I’m not sure I’m comfortable reading a mash-up of quotes at my wedding. I just wanted to throw that out there so people are aware of what the quote is.

    • Hi Lauren,

      I am a wedding officiant with a master’s degree from a liberal seminary. I’ve performed about 400 ceremonies over the last nine years – mostly meaningful, personalized weddings for couples who aren’t religious, but still want a special service. I’m collecting readings from this fabulous site to give some new options to the couples I work with.

      When I was in training by mentors who helped me get started, I was told give myself permission to take liberties with quotes for the sake of clarity in a spoken ceremony. This would never be okay with the written word, of course, where we’d always use ellipses, parentheses and other methods to be sure to accurately quote an author’s original words. But in the case of a public reading, I aim for conveying the intent of the author’s sentiment and ease of understanding in the midst of the long stream of spoken words that occur during ceremonies.

      I modify and edit quotes to:
      – make the words flow well within the service
      – prevent the reader or guests from getting hung up on an unusual or unclear word
      – convey the meaning of the reading without keeping lines or phrases that won’t make sense outside of the book’s context

      Most guests would never notice the difference and check the source material to be sure quotes are exact. But they will know the difference between a reading that makes them sigh with sweet understanding or sit puzzled and distracted during the rest of the service wondering, “What the hell was that?”

      When I’ve touched base with wedding readers – like a cousin or friend of the couple – and found they’re really stumbling over a word or concept, it can be a big relief to tweak or modify the offending part.

      If that doesn’t feel right to you, though, I would definitely respect your wishes and say go with your gut. Very best to you.

  24. This is a great website! I definitely plan on stealing some of your suggestions for the wedding I am officiating next month!

    These are some of the off-beat readings we had at our wedding last year:

    Marriage Song, by Tony Hoagland

    God said (and already you can tell
    I’m making this up)

    Let this woman and this man
    Be joined together

    In front of the sea and the grass
    And the trees who don’t care

    He said, Let them make
    A gate in themselves

    Through which the other can pass
    And may the gate never be closed

    So they can feel the truth of being entered

    And the loneliness of being
    Imperfectly misunderstood —

    Now go, God said,
    Into the country of love

    Change it with your experiments
    Don’t be intimidated Enjoy your skin

    Impress me
    Make something grow

    For your bravery merely in undertaking
    This impossible task

    I make you a special loan called Time
    No, don’t bother to thank me now–

    You can pay me back as you go


    From the introduction to “Slapstick”, by Kurt Vonnegut.

    I have had some experiences with love, or think I have, anyway, although the ones that I have liked best can be best described as “common decency.” I treated someone well for a little while, or maybe even for a tremendously long time, and that person treated me well in turn. Love need not have anything to do with it.

    Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go looking for it, and I think it can often be poisonous. I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, “Please – a little less love, and a little more common decency.”


    from The Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett.

    “The universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.”

  25. It is our point of reference in life often changes our viewpoint. Sometimes good and sometimes this change is bad but it is our point of view that exerts the most control how we feel.

  26. I am marrying next year in a small ceremony in Ireland. Me and my partner are quite shy people and big fans of Christie Moore the folk musician. I am thinking of reading or having read The Voyage. I know it will make me bawl crying though.

    I am a sailor, you’re my first mate
    We signed on together, we coupled our fate
    Hauled up our anchor, determined not to fail
    For the hearts treasure, together we set sail
    With no maps to guide us we steered our own course
    Rode out the storms when the winds were gale force
    Sat out the doldrums in patience and hope
    Working together we learned how to cope

    Life is an ocean and love is a boat
    In troubled water that keeps us afloat
    When we started the voyage, there was just me and you
    Now gathered round us, we have our own crew
    Together we’re in this relationship
    We built it with care to last the whole trip
    Our true destination’s not marked on any charts
    We’re navigating to the shores of the heart

  27. My grandfather was a huge Bertrand Russell fan, and I was looking for a way to honor him at the ceremony. I recently found this. (Note: I’ve changed around the order and left some parts out. Also the first sentence comes from a different work by Russell than the rest of the quote, but it was one of my grandfather’s favorite sayings.)

    The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge…I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved. (…)I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness – that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what—at last—I have found.

  28. On Marriage, Kahlil Gibran
    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 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 one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

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

  29. I wrote my own vows and sang them that at my wedding. Here they are:

    Last night I tried to find the words to tell you that I love you.
    Last night I tried to find the words to tell you that I care.
    Last night I tried to find the words to tell you how I feel.
    Last night I tried to find the words, but the words, they were nowhere.
    Last night I tried to find the words to tell you I’ll be there
    Through thick and thin, and good and bad,
    Through ups and downs, and happy and sad.
    Last night I tried to find the words, but the words, they were nowhere.
    Then the hours turned the night into the early morn,
    And all I have to offer is one poorly written song.
    But I hope you take it in your heart and hold it all your life,
    ‘Cause with this early morning song, I take you as my wife.

    Needless to say my bride was totally surprised and cried through the whole thing. You can hear the song on my website,

    Since I’m the sole author, I can guarantee that, if you want to use this song at your wedding, you will not be sued for a copyright violation.

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