Laura Barber’s favourite poems for weddings

Now by Robert Browning is the perfect sonnet for proposals and declarations: urgent, imploring, and passionate, this is love poetry at its super-charged, swoon-inducing best.

Now by Robert Browning (1812-89)

Out of your whole life give but one moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, – so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, – condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense –
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me –
Me – sure that despite of time future, time past, –
This tick of our life-time’s one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet –
The moment eternal – just that and no more –
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!

I love the wry humour in Modern Declaration, and the realism, and the way she lifts the veil of cynicism to reveal the truth of her feeling.

Modern Declaration by Edna St Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having
wavered
In these affections; never through shyness in the houses of the rich
or in the presence of clergymen having denied these loves;
Never when worked upon by cynics like chiropractors having
grunted or clicked a vertebra to the discredit of these loves;
Never when anxious to land a job having diminished them by a
conniving smile; or when befuddled by drink
Jeered at them through heartache or lazily fondled the fingers of
their alert enemies; declare

That I shall love you always.
No matter what party is in power;
No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied
interests wins the war;
Shall love you always.

I Would Live in Your Love is short but sweet, with a striking metaphor for the accommodations and togetherness of married life.

I Would Live in Your Love by Sara Teasdale (1844-1933)

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

 

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