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Understand, I'll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I'll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too.
- From "First Poems," Rainer Maria Rilke
During your ceremony you may choose to include some readings—passages that express your deepest feelings. Our greatest poets, playwrights, screenwriters, and lyricists have labored for centuries to put love into words. Choosing the perfect readings is a challenge. It took me months to find mine, those words that best reflected my connection with my husband: our love, attachment, desire, commitment, and friendship. Readings also present an opportunity to share your eco-friendly philosophy with your guests. You can use them to illustrate your values and your love of nature. Here are some eco-inspired reading ideas.
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The beauty of nature is a common theme in poetry, especially in the poetry of the Romantics like William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats. Their poems celebrate nature, using the beauty of a river or a mountain to describe devotion and love.
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another's being mingle--
Why not I with thine?
See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;--
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Giving Tree
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A friend of mine read The Giving Tree at her wedding and it brought the entire room to tears. The story is about love but it’s also a lesson about give and take. The tree loves a little boy and as the boy grows he takes more and more from the tree. In the end, the tree is a stump, but the boy is now an old man. All he needs is a place to rest. It is about unconditional love but it also has an ecological message.
Sending a Direct Message
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If you want to be more direct with your readings, try a quote from an environmentalist. Henry David Thoreau was both an environmentalist and a poet. He wrote extensively on man’s role in the world and the importance of respecting nature. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is also an eloquent writer on nature’s role in our lives.
We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us. We can never have enough of nature.
- Henry David Thoreau