I’m marrying (hopefully)

my best friend’s son to his fiancee as I have applied to be a marriage celebrant.  ( I hope I gave you a scare after that title :)).  It is quite a long process and there are no guarantees and an interview hurdle as well, but it has got me thinking about poems and readings that are suitable for weddings.

I had two readings at mine as follows, firstly,

I am yours
You are mine,
Of this we are certain.
You are lodged in my heart,
The small key is lost.
You must stay there forever.

It was reportedly an anonymous poem and Polish but I have since found a longer version on line 

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. Alive.
You make me laugh, You let me cry.
You are my breath,
My every heartbeat.
I am yours
You are mine,
Of this we are certain.
You are lodged in my heart,
The small key is lost.
You must stay forever.

You are my inspiration,
And my soul’s fire.
You are the magic of my days,
You help me laugh, you teach me love.
Each day I rediscover you,
You are my greatest gift.
I am yours
You are mine,
Of this we are certain.
You are lodged in my heart,
The small key is lost.
You must stay with me forever.

Secondly a Margaret Atwood poem,


Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire

My favourite poem for myself these days is by Marge Piercey

Why Marry at all? A poem by Marge Piercy

Why mar what has grown up between the cracks
and flourished like a weed
that discovers itself to bear rugged
spikes of magenta blossoms in August,
ironweed sturdy and bold,
a perennial that endures winters to persist?

Why register with the state?
Why enlist in the legions of the respectable?
Why risk the whole apparatus of roles
and rules, of laws and liabilities?
Why license our bed at the foot
like our Datsun truck: will the mileage improve?

Why encumber our love with patriarchal
word stones, with the old armor
of husband and the corset stays
and the chains of wife? Marriage
meant buying a breeding womb
and sole claim to enforced sexual service.

Marriage has built boxes in which women
have burst their hearts sooner
than those walls; boxes of private
slow murder and the fading of the bloom
in the blood; boxes in which secret
bruises appear like toadstools in the morning.

But we cannot invent a language
of new grunts. We start where we find
ourselves, at this time and place.

Which is always the crossing of roads
that began beyond the earth’s curve
but whose destination we can now alter.

This is a public saying to all our friends
that we want to stay together. We want
to share our lives. We mean to pledge
ourselves through times of broken stone
and seasons of rose and ripe plum;
we have found out, we know, we want to continue.

This seems like a lovely commitment poem to me.

As a strange aside, I enjoyed  reading Deborah Hill Cone’s article in the Canvas this weekend about how enjoyable sex is for her in her fifties.  What it is really about though, is love.  She says,

You can read the whole article here.

I like to think I was among the first to recognise that  Captain Correlli’s Mandolin had the meaning of love pretty right. It has become a favourite at many weddings these days and rightfully so.

Image result for captain corelli's mandolin book

“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, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. 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.”
― Louis de BernièresCaptain Corelli’s Mandolin

I also like this one from my favourite chap, Leunig from his book, When I Talk To you 

Image result for leunig when i talk to you


Dear God, 

We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace. Let us find a place within ourselves. We give thanks for the places of refuge and beauty. Let us find such a place within ourselves. We give thanks for places of nature’s truth and freedom, of joy, inspiration and renewal, places where all creatures may find acceptance and belonging. Let us search for these places in the world, in ourselves and in others. Let us restore them. Let us strengthen and protect them and let us create them. 

May we mend this outer world according to the truth of our inner life and may our souls be shaped and nourished by nature’s eternal wisdom. 

I am not a religious person but I can imagine that if I do get to be a celebrant then some readings may well be religious and they are a rich source of literature.

I am a believer in ceremony though, that such a commitment as marriage needs to have some mystery and formality. It is possible to literally get married in under five minutes.  I like to think that for the couple and their family and friends, this ceremony should be a still moment in time, declaring their love for one another and that everyone feels a part of supporting that relationship.  I would relish the opportunity to help couples say what their hearts tell them even if they find it hard to articulate.

I hope I get accepted but it is not a done deal at all, I think they look at numbers and types of people as well as just the person’s application and there are probably loads of grey haired older women like me out there already playing a part.  But fingers crossed as then I’d  get a chance to reread loads of love poems in preparation!  I am going to do the ceremony part anyway for my friend’s son, with a celebrant present to sign the documents. My main worry is that I might want to cry and I just can’t do that and spoil the ceremony.

Please send me your wedding vows and poems you love , or ceremonies you really enjoyed to help me get started. FG

Seven Wishes by Fiona Farrell

A straight account is difficult

so let me define seven wishes:

that you should fit inside me neat as the stuffing in an


that you should stand inside the safe circle of my eye

that you should sing, clear, on the high rock of my


that you should swing wide on the rope of my hair

that you should cross rivers of blood, mountains of


that I should touch your skin through the hole in your

tee shirt

that we should exchange ordinary tales.

Happy Tuesday, FG


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One Reply to “I’m marrying (hopefully)”

  1. Hmm – first rule of puppy training and perhaps anything ”Never set them up to fail” might apply here. – so for me I’d go with Fiona though in spots a bit hard – I do love the last line – because for me that’s probably what it’s all about -assuming it’s about anything at all.

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