Etiquette Hell



Poetry Readings
Compiled by: Mary Jane N. Shroyer Nov. 18, 1996

Conrad Aiken
Music I heard with you was more than music,
and bread I broke with you was more than bread.

Title Unknown

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 comes 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 its only love
which sets us free


Margaret Atwood

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

O Tell Me the Truth About Love

W.H. Auden

Some say love's a little boy,
And some say it's a bird,
Some say it makes the world go around,
Some say that's absurd,
And when I asked the man next-door,
Who looked as if he knew,
His wife got very cross indeed,
And said it wouldn't do.

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love.

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes,
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn't over there;
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton's bracing air.
I don't know what the blackbird sang,
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn't in the chicken-run,
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I'm picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.

Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her

Christopher Brennan
If questioning would make us wise
no eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
if all our tale were told in speech
no mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
and love not bound in hearts of flesh
no aching breasts would yearn to meet
and find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
the secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
to thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.

Sonnet XLIII

From Sonnets from the Portuguese, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,-- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

The Country of Marriage

Wendell Berry
Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.

From Rabbi Ben Ezra

Robert Browning
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hand
Who saith, "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!" . . .

Barbara Burrow
All things are ours because we love
the earth below, the sky above,
the mountains, meadow, sand, and sea.
All things surounding you and me
are but a sweet reflection of
the gentle wonder of our love.

Carnal Cerebral Love

Denise Castellucci

Carnal Cerebral Love
I want to make love
to your mind
Stimulate me
with your intellect,
your insight and understanding.
Ignite me
with random connections
and your clever wit.

Carnal Cerebral Love
I want to make love
to your inner being.
Allow me to delight
in your orgasmic
dynamic mind.
Open up and invite me
into the deep warmth of your soul.

Carnal Cerebral Love
Let our synapses dance
entangle and connect
at the same plateau.
Complete each others sentences,
not our lives.

Carnal Cerebral Love
Our physical being
Our external egos
decay daily and by the moment
only our inner selves intact
The essentials of life
which are often ignored
are honored here.

Most Like an Arch This Marriage

John Ciardi

Most like an arch--an entrance which upholds
and shores the stone-crush up the air like lace.
Mass made idea, and idea held in place.
A lock in time. Inside half-heaven unfolds.

Most like an arch--two weaknesses that lean
into a strength. Two fallings become firm.
Two joined abeyances become a term
naming the fact that teaches fact to mean.

Not quite that? Not much less. World as it is,
what's strong and separate falters. All I do
at piling stone on stone apart from you
is roofless around nothing. Till we kiss

I am no more than upright and unset.
It is by falling in and in we make
the all-bearing point, for one another's sake,
in faultless failing, raised by our own weight.

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 realationship...
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.

William Cowper
What is there in the vale of life
Half so delightful as a wife,
When friendship, love and peace combine
To stamp the marriage bond divine?

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
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 works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song


why from this her and him
did you and did i climb
(crazily kissing) till

into themselves we fell --

how have all time and space
bowed to immaterial us
if in one little bed

she and he lie (undead)


if everything happens that can't be done
(and anything's righter
than books
could plan)
the stupidest teacher will almost guess
(with a run
around we go yes)
there's nothing as something as one

one hasn't a why or because or although
(and buds know better
than books
don't grow)
one's anything old being everything new
(with a what
around we come who)
one's everyanything so

so world is a leaf so tree is a bough
(and birds sing sweeter
than books
tell how)
so here is away and so your is a my
(with a down
around again fly)
forever was never till now

now i love you and you love me
(and books are shutter
than books
can be)
and deep in the high that does nothing but fall
(with a shout
around we go all)
there's somebody calling who's we

we're anything brighter than even the sun
(we're everything greater
than books
might mean)
we're everyanything more than believe
(with a spin
alive we're alive)
we're wonderful one times one

if i have made, my lady, intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes (frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body's whitest song
upon my mind--if I have failed to snare
the glance too shy--if through my singing slips
the very skillful strangeness of your smile
the keen primeval silence of your hair--
let the world say "his most wise music stole
nothing from death" -
you only will create
(who are so perfectly alive) my shame:
lady through whose profound and fragile lips
the sweet small clumsy feet of April came
into the ragged meadow of my soul.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

I Will Be Here

Steven Curtis Chapman

If in the morning when you wake,
if the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.

I will be here,
when you feel like being quiet,
when you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying
we'll be together, and I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
if the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.

I will be here, and you can cry on my shoulder,
when the mirror tells us we're older.
I will hold you,
to watch you grow in beauty,
and tell you all the things you are to me.
We'll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I've made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here.

From Give All to Love

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good-fame,
Plans, credit and the Muse,
Nothing Refuse.
Tis a brave master;
him his bending sickle's compass come;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But it is a god,
Knows its own path
And the outlets of the sky.
It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout.
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending.
It will reward,
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending...

On Your Shore

Strange how my heart beats
To find myself upon your shore.
Strange how I still feel
My loss of comfort gone before.
Cool waves wash over
And drift away with dreams of youth.
So time is stolen;
I cannot hold you long enough.
And so this is where I should be now,
Days and nights falling by,
Days and nights falling by me.
I know of a dream I should be holding
Days and nights falling by,
Days and nights falling by me.
Soft blue horizons
Reach far into my childhood days
As you are rising
To bring me my forgotten ways.
Strange how I faltered
To find I'm standing in deep water.
Strange how my heart beats
To find I'm standing on your shore.

Eskimo Love Song

You are my husband/wife
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

Robert Frost
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything

Robert Herrick
Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy protestant to be:
Or bid me to love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.
A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free
As in the whole world thou canst find,
That heart I'll give to thee.
Bid that heart to stay, and it will stay,
To honor thy decree:
Or bid it to languish quite away,
And 't shall do so for thee.
Bid me to weep and I will weep
While I have eyes to see:
And having none, yet I will keep
A heart to weep for thee.
Bid me despair, and I'll despair,
Under that cypress tree:
Or bid me to die, and I will dare
E'en Death, to die for thee.
Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
The very eyes of me,
And hast command of every part,
To live and die for thee.

Title Unknown

Reginald Holmes
I've never known a spring like this before,
Though I have seen so many come and go.
The violets show in lovely purple clusters
And every cherry branch like drifts of snow.
The yellow jonquils nod to passing strangers,
While lilacs fill the air with sweet perfume;
The tulip bulbs that slept have now awakened
And line the walk with dazzling crimson bloom.
Other springs I had not viewed your loveliness,
Or thought that you were more than passing fair;
But now, with bridal wreath in bloom beside you
And stray, white petals nestling in your hair,
Like songbirds on the wing, my spirits soar;
I've never known a spring like this before.

To Celia

Ben Johnson
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But night I of Jove's necter sup,
I would not change for thine...


From Chamber Music, by James Joyce
Go seek her out all courteously,
And say I come,
Wind of spices whose song is ever
O hurry over the dark lands
And run upon the sea
For seas and land shall not divide us
My love and me.
Now, wind, of your good courtesy
I pray you go,
And come into her little garden
And sing at her window;
Singing: The bridal wind is blowing
For Love is at his noon;
And soon will your true love be with you,
Soon, O soon.

Married Love

Kuan Tao-sheng
You and I have so much love
That it burns like a fire,
In which we bake a lump of clay
Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me.
Then we take both of them,
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
In life we share a single quilt,
In death we will share one bed.


Take a lump of clay, wet it, pat it,
And make an image of me, and an image of you.
Then smash them, crash them, and add a little water.
Break them and remake them into an image of you
And an image of me.
Then in my clay, there's a little of you.
And in your clay, there's a little of me.
And nothing ever shall us sever;
Living, we'll sleep in the same quilt,
And dead, we'll be buried together.

Title Unknown

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.

At my Daughter's Side

Linda Jo
Tomorrow was a lifetime away, now suddenly it's here.
How did it happen so quickly? This wedding drawing near.
How can I act so happy? How can I act so gay?
When in such a very short time, I'll give my daughter away.
I wish I could grasp a moment, and make the clock stand still
So I could let my heart catch up, but I know it never will.
All the worries of being a parent, all the battles won,
No one ever warned me about the day the job is done.
Yet, there is another side, where my heart is not as sad.
When I look in my daughter's eyes, I can't help but be joyful and glad.
This is the day she has dreamt about, for just about all her life.
She's going to be such a beautiful bride and a loving, caring wife.
I'll stand with the congregation as my daughter walks down the aisle
And even though there are tears in my eyes, my face will bare a smile.
For I know that I was very blessed when God lent this child to me.
To love and care for and nurture, so she would grow up to be
This lovely, bright young woman, who tomorrow will be a bride
And as always I'll be there, with love at my daughter's side.

Come live with me and be my love

Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may the move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Some Trust in Chariots

Rod McKuen

There were those who must have thought us mad
spending all that time and money we never had.
Well, some trust in chariots and some in marble banks,
some of us just love each other and never ask for thanks.

There were those who must have thought us daft
from the way we cried together and the way we laughed.
Well, some trust in chariots and some in big machines,
some of you save diamonds, baby, some of us save dreams.

Some trust in chariots with great big yellow wheels,
Well, I had a ride in a chariot and oh how empty it feels.

There were those who must have thought us fools
loving like a house on fire and breaking all the rules.
Well, some trust in chariots, in chariots they ride,
we ride the wings of love together side by side.

Bend Down and Touch Me

Rod McKuen

Bend down and touch me with your eyes.
Make every morning hold a new surprise,
then when I stumble from my sleep
yours is the first face that I'll see.

And as I amble through the day
be there to guide me all along my way.
If I should falter and fall
your shoulder's near enough to touch.

Follow me from darkness into light
then we'll go back again
through every midnight.

Bend down and touch me with your eyes.
Let every evening hold a new surprise.
So when I tumble into sleep
yours is the last face that I'll see.

Thomas Middleton
The treasures of the deep are not so precious
As are the concealed comforts of a man
locked up in a woman's love...
I scent the air of blessings
When I come but near the house.
What delicious breath marriage sends forth -
The violet bed's not sweeter

Two Trees

Janet Miles
A portion of your should has been
entwined with mine.
a gentle kind of togetherness, while
separate we stand.
As two trees deeply rooted in
separate plots of ground,
While their topmost branches
come together,
Forming a miracle of lace
against the heavens.

From "Once Again"

Molly and the Tinker
In your touch I find security
In your kiss a healing peace
In your laugh is my serenity
your embrace is my release
Though the madness swirls around us
You are safety in the storm.
Though the world is cold
Your love is evermore.

From The Magic Flute

A man who feels the pangs of loving
He will not lack a gentle heart.
The sweet emotion likewise suffering
Is womankind's first debt to man.
We shall now both in love be happy;
By love alone we'll live life through.
Sure, love doth sweeten every sorrow;
Each creature living pays its due.
At the heart of our life's journey,
At nature's root it dwells, 'tis true.
Life's high purpose shineth clearly:
Naught's nobler than a man and wife.
In man and wife, in wife and man,
'twixt earth and heav'n the gulf doth span.

The Confirmation

Edwin Muir
Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face.
I in my mind had waited for this long,
Seeing the false and searching for the true,
Then found you as a traveller finds a place
Of welcome suddenly amid the wrong
Valleys and rocks and twisting roads. But you,
What shall I call you? A fountain in a waste,
A well of water in a country dry,
Or anything that's honest and good, an eye
That makes the whole world bright. Your open heart,
Simple with giving, gives the primal deed,
The first good world, the blossom, the blowing seed,
The hearth, the steadfast land, the wandering sea,
Not beautiful or rare in every part,
But like yourself, as they were meant to be.

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.

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
When 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.

From Every Day you Play

Pablo Neruda

So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes, and over our heads the grey light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you. A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body. I go so far as to think that you own the universe.

I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.

I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

From Cien Sonetos de Amor

Pablo Neruda
Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
without you moving, slicing the noon
like a blue flower, without you walking
later through the fog and the cobbles,
without the light you carry in your hand,
golden, which maybe others will not see,
which maybe no one knew was growing
like the red beginnings of a rose.
In short, without your presence: without your coming
suddenly, incitingly, to know my life,
gust of a rosebush, wheat of a wind:
since then I am because you are,
since then you are, I am, we are,
and through love I will be, you will be, we'll be.

Laine Parsons

Sometimes when we simply say
"I love you" we forget that it is
not a simple thing at all or a
saying we can lightly use.
May we always remember
where we have come from to reach
our I love you's and where we're
going to whisper more. .

We become new

Marge Piercy

How it feels to be touching
you: an Io moth, orange
and yellow as pollen,
wings through the night
miles to mate,
could crumble in the hand.

Yet our meaning together
is hardy as an onion
and layered.
Goes into the blood like garlic,
Sour as rose hips,
gritty as whole grain,

fragrant as thyme honey.
When I am turning slowly
in the woven hammocks of our talk,
when I am chocolate melting into you,
I taste everything new
in your mouth.

You are not my old friend.
How did I used to sit
and look at you? Now
though I seem to be standing still
I am flying flying flying
in the trees of your eyes.

From The Cantos

Ezra Pound
What thou lovest well remains,
the rest is dross.
What thou lov'st well shall not be
reft from thee.
What thou lov'st well is thy true
heritage. . . .

Sir Walter Raleigh
But true love is a durable fire
In the mind ever burning;
Never sick, never old, never dead;
From itself never turning

To My Bride

Steven Reiser
To my bride, I give you my heart
Sharing love each day, from the very start
To my bride, I give you my kiss
Filling each day with joy and bliss
To my bride, I give you my being
To love, to play, to work and to sing
To my bride, I give you my mind
Learning each day to be more kind
To my bride, I give you my soul
Growing together to be more whole
To my bride, I give you my life
Rejoicing each day that you are my wife


Steven Reiser
Because we have things in common
We have the joy of sharing them
Because we are so different
There is so much we can learn from each other
Because we love each other
We look for the good in the other
Because we are forgiving
We overlook the faults in each other
Because we are patient
We give each other time to understand
Because we are filled with kindness
We compliment the things we do for each other
Because we can empathize
We know what it's like to stand in each other's shoes
Because we have character
We enjoy each other's uniqueness
Because we have faith
We believe in the best for the future
Because we are honest
We are comfortable to trust each other
Because we are filled with loyalty
We always know the other will be there

Wish for a Young Wife

Theodore Roethke
My lizard, my lively writher,
May your limbs never wither,
May the eyes in your face
Survive the green ice
Of envy's mean gaze;
What May you live out your life
Without hate, without grief
And your hair ever blaze,
In the sun, in the sun,
When I am undone,
When I am no one.

Sonett 116

William Shakespeare
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:
O, 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 is error, and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Sonnet 29

William Shakespeare
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.
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possessed
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 of thee and then my state
Like to the lark at break of day arising
from sullen earth, sings hymns at heavens gate.
For thy sweet love remembr'd such wealth brings
That I would scorn to change my state with kings.

From Hamlet

William Shakespeare
Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

From As You Like It

William Shakespeare
Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither;
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Love's Philosophy

Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Fountains mingle with the Rivers
And the Rivers with the Oceans,
The winds of Heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother,
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

From The Bargain

Sir Philip Sidney
My true love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven:

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
My heart in him his throughs and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his, because in me it bides:

My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

Themes and Variations

James Stephens
That has come my way:
That I have seen:
Kindest, wisest, noblest-Be
Noble, wise, and kind to me...
Do you love?
Then, love are you
- No other knowledge shall avail -
To be, to know,
And so to do,
That is the truth, and all the tale:
So do, be so!
In each meridian and degree,
The Good, the Beautiful, the True
Is Love,
And Loving,
And is you.
...Give all thy love:
Love breeds its like always
- Sprint-time,
And the moon.
And love-
And truthful
- such is love -
Is love,
And love
Is fruitful.
Making all song,
Making all creatures sing:
Surpassing all,
With everything:
Astonished all,
And all
More brave, more beautiful, and true
Than each one was
Is now this two....
It is to see,
And say:
You are best
Of all, I ween:...

Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
What is well planted will not be torn up.
What is well kept will not escape.
Whosoever leaves his memory to his children will not fade away.
Whosoever moulds his person, his life becomes true.
Whosoever moulds his family, his life becomes complete.
Whosoever moulds his community, his life will grow.

Diame Westlake
We are given the blessing
of sharing this passage
through time and space,
never too far apart
that our hands do not touch,
for wherever we may wander
we go with love.

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman
The welcome nearness -- the sight of the perfect body; ...
The female form approaching -- I, pensive,
love-flesh tremulous, aching;
The divine list, for myself or you, or for any one,
The face -- the limbs -- the index from head to
foot, and what it arouses;
The mystic deliria -- the madness amorous-- the
utter abandonment;
(Hark close, and still, what I now whisper to you,
I love you -- O you entirely possess me,
O I wish that you and I escape from the rest, and go
utterly off
-- O free and lawless,
Two hawks in the air -- two fishes swimming in the
sea not more lawless than we.)
-- The furious storm through me careering-- I
passionately trembling;
The oath of the inseparableness of two together --
of the woman that loves me, and whom I love
more than my life -- that oath swearing;
(O I willingly stake all, for you!
O let me be lost, if it must be so!
O you and I -- what is it to us what the rest do or
What is all else to us? only that we enjoy each
other, and exhaust each other, if it must be so) ...

Song of the Open Road

Walt Whitman

The efflux of the soul is happiness, here is happiness,
I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times,
Now it flows unto us, we are rightly charged.

Here rises the fluid and attaching character,
The fluid and attaching character is the freshness and sweetness of man and woman,
The herbs of the morning sprout no fresher and sweeter every day -- out of the roots of themselves, than it sprouts fresh and sweet continually out of themselves.

Our Love

Bruce B. Wilmer
Our love is something we have built
From passions, hopes and dreams.
It's safe from any passing moods,
secure from all extremes.
It's something real and special,
something solid, something pure.
It's something we can always count on,
rining sound and sure.
It's something grounded in the heart,
emitting confidence.
It lives in our emotions;
it is something we can sense.
Our love remains a binding force,
resistant to all strife.
Amidst the outer pressures,
it's our anchor throughout life.

Paul Valery
Oh, hasten not this loving act,
Rapture where self and not-self meet:
My life has been awaiting you,
Your footfall was my own heart's beat.

Going my way of old
Contented more or less
I dreamt not life could hold
Such happiness.
I dreamt not that love's way
Could keep the golden height
Day after happy day
Night after night.

I Knew That I Been Touched By Love

Author Unknown
I knew that I had been touched by love
the first time I saw you,
and I felt your warmth,
and I heard your laughter.
I knew that I had been touched by love
when I was hurting from something that happened,
and you came along and made the hurt go away.
I knew that I had been touched by love
when I quit making plans with my friends,
and started dreaming dreams with you.
I knew that I had been touched by love
when suddenly I stopped thinking in terms of "me",
and started thinking in terms of "we".
I knew that I had been touched by love
when suddenly I couldn't make any decisions by myself anymore,
and I had the strong desire to share everything with you.
I knew that I had been touched by love
the first time we spent alone together,
and I knew I wanted to stay with you forever
because I had never felt this touched by love.

Our Family

Author Unknown
is a circle of
love and strength.
With every birth and
every union, the circle
grows. Every joy shared
adds more love. Every
obstacle faced together
makes the circle

Our Mother

Author Unknown
You are the mother I received the day I wed your son.
And I just want to thank you, Mom
for all the things you've done.
You've given me a gracious man
with whom I share my life.
You are his loving mother and
I his lucky wife.
You used to pat his little head,
and now I hold his hand
You raised in love a little boy
and gave to me a man.

Source Unknown

From this day forward, I choose you to be my partner in life;
to live with you and laugh with you,
to stand by your side and sleep in your arms;
to be joy to your heart and food to your soul;
to bring out the best in you always;
and for you, to be the most that I can.

To laugh with you in the good times;
to struggle with you in the bad;
to solace you when you are downhearted;
to wipe your tears with my hands;
to comfort you with my body;
to mirror you with my soul;
to share with you all my riches and honors;
to play with you even when you grow old,
and always loving you sweetly and gladly,
as long as we both shall live.

Source Unknown

In my heart
There is one feeling I have
Together we are one
Alone I am half
So come, take my hand
We'll embrace each new day
Our ever strengthening love
Leading the way.

Author Unknown
From this day forward you shall not walk alone.
My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home.

Source Unknown

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 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

Source Unknown

Every heart is unique
so separate from the rest
and yet how beautiful
when they blend together
in peace and love...
their differences not disappearing,
but adding to the beauty
of their song