Wedding Reading both for, and about, sisters
August 18, 2014 5:24 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: She has been asked to do a reading at her sister's wedding in a few weeks. She does not want to use anything biblical or from Shakespeare. Rhyming is ok, but it doesn't have to, and not epically long. The important and tricky part - she'd like it to be on the theme of sisters, but wedding appropriate. Help?
posted by librarianamy to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't explicitly about sisters, but it's the poem that I told my sister I would have written for her if I had any talent:


[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
By E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
posted by Maisie at 5:40 AM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

The best poem on the theme of sisters that comes to mind is Marie Howe's The New Addition:

I was going to sleep downstairs in the room we still called The New Addition,

the wide bed the beat-up couch pulled out into
made me feel safe and glamorous under the dimmed yellow lights,
when my sister Beth came in quietly to tell me
she was going to the secret field to meet Rusty,

so that somebody would know in case anything happened.
And I half waited for her in the dim dark,

and passed the hour she promised to be back in gazing through
the open New Addition doors to the pool-yard's moonlight and water,

almost sleeping when she walked in hours later, still shaking
from the snarling dog that had chased her bike down the wide and empty avenue...

Her warm weight pulled the bed off center when she sat to tell me,
-the scent of that summer night pressing in through the screen doors,

the crickets lightly shaking their salt,
& my sister, still terrified and radiant, just come from Rusty's kisses-
I remember thinking: This is Beth
knowing her face in the dimness so well, feeling proud of her beauty,

so brave to have gone that far alone for him.
How had she learned to love a boy like that. without irony or condescension?
posted by willbaude at 5:54 AM on August 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Joanna Newsom's beautiful song Emily is about her sister. I don't know what you mean by "wedding appropriate", so I don't know if it fits that category. It's a really long song with sometimes complicated metaphors, but maybe a specific verse would work well.

The song has an eerie quality to it, but it's actually a very positive, loving song full of childhood memories and a lot of reverence for her sister. For example:

Emily, they'll follow your lead by the letter
And I make this claim, and I'm not ashamed to say I knew you better
What they've seen is just a beam of your sun that banishes winter.

posted by alon at 8:24 AM on August 18, 2014

Colbie Caillat's "Tailor Made" comes to mind but I don't remember the lyrics well enough offhand to vouch whether they'd translate to spoken word.
posted by ista at 9:21 AM on August 18, 2014

“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands”

Christina Rossetti, from Goblin Market and Other Poems.

I don't know if a reading from Goblin Market is particularly wedding-appropriate, but I've always liked that verse.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:55 AM on August 18, 2014

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