One of the most significant ways of personalising your civil partnership is to include a poem or reading by one of your family members or guests. This is a unique way of making your civil partnership ceremony truly memorable.

You could ask a parent or parents, brother, sister or a lifelong friend to say some favourite words or a poem on your special day. Asking them to do a reading is a way of including them in the celebrations and giving them a prominent role.

Pages of Book in Heart Shape

Below is a selection of poems and readings that you may like to use, or you could use them as inspiration to write your own special words that are important and meaningful to you both.

These I can Promise, by Mark Twain

I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;

I cannot promise riches, wealth or gold;

I cannot promise you an easy pathway that leads away from change or growing old.

But I can promise all my heart’s devotion, a smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;

A love that’s ever true and ever growing;

A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

When I look at you now,

I see all the hope and promise of our life together.

As the love that was always there in us grows stronger still,

I see the wonder, the mystery, the miracle of love and all our dreams waiting to be born.

I see that we’ve learned what it takes to make a relationship work, and ours does.

Thank you for being you and making me feel so loved,

Because what we have is special.

A Dance, by Colin Wicker

A good relationship is something like a dance – built on the same rules. Partners in a dance do not need to hold on tightly, because they move in the same patterns, confident in each other. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement – to check if not to stop the beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging are, the heavy hand. Only the barest touch in passing is sufficient to carry the deepest wealth of meaning. Now arm-in-arm, now face-to-face, now back-to-back – it doesn’t matter which. As dancers, they know they are partners responding to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together and being invisibly nourished by it. The joy of such a dance is not only the joy of creation: it is also the joy of living in, and for, the moment. The joy of knowing that lightness of touch and life itself are inter-twined.

My True Love Hath My Heart, by 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:

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

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,

My heart in him his thoughts 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

O, Tell Me the Truth About Love, by W H Auden

Some say that love’s a little boy,

And some say it’s a bird,

Some say it makes the world go round,

And 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 ever 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.

Guest post by Lester Gethings

Image from Flickr by wewiorka-wagner (CC BY-SA 2.0 License)