Ocean wedding readings
August 10, 2018 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of poetry or prose, suitable for a wedding reading, that features the ocean, the sea or the shore?
posted by zamboni to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not ocean specifically, but Song of Solomon 8:6-7 is often sung or spoken at weddings:

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:01 PM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Might be a stretch, but Sonnet 116 refers to ships at sea.

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 wand'ring 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 be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.
posted by she's not there at 8:00 PM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, maybe:

Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid.
posted by armeowda at 8:03 PM on August 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

The balcony scene!!

ROMEO O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

JULIET What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?

ROMEO The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.

JULIET I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

ROMEO Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?

JULIET But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
posted by phoenixy at 8:35 PM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not strictly sea-related but I read this much-beloved Carol Ann Duffy poem out at my best friend's wedding:


In the end,
it was nothing more
than the toy boat of a boy
on the local park’s lake,
where I walked with you.

But I knelt down
to watch it arrive,
its white sail shy
with amber light,
the late sun
bronzing the wave
that lifted it up,

my ship coming in
with its cargo of joy.

Carol Ann Duffy
from Rapture (London: Picador, 2005)
posted by Lluvia at 9:01 PM on August 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

Maybe this from Gift from the Sea: "When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides."

Or- this is beyond a stretch, but the reference to "salt rose" in Neruda's I do not love you makes me think of the beach (rosa rugosa grows on sand dunes).
posted by pinochiette at 9:04 PM on August 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Owl and the Pussycat ... frivolous, but we chose it alongside 2 more "serious" pieces and had it as the last reading of our ceremony; looking back it's the one that sticks in the mind most strongly by far.
posted by protorp at 4:13 AM on August 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Robert Frost:

The heart can think of no devotion
Like being shore to the ocean.
Holding a curve in one position,
Counting an endless repetition.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:12 AM on August 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was also going to suggest "The Owl and the Pussycat," but I figured modern guests might giggle too much at the words "bong" and "pussy."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:37 AM on August 11, 2018

We also read the 'Owl and the Pussycat', and it was wonderful!
posted by jb at 4:49 PM on August 11, 2018

"The Sea to the Shore" by Lucy Maud Montgomery has a nuptual theme.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:41 AM on August 12, 2018

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