So you’re writing your own vows? Or maybe you’re looking for a passage to read during the ceremony. It can be challenging to express what you’re thinking or feeling with words—especially on such an important day! That’s why we’ve collected seven love poems below, perfect for any part of your nuptial celebration. They’re all short enough to be read aloud, simple enough for a wide audience range, and heartfelt without being eye-rollingly cheesy.
BY RUPI KAUR
i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
i want to have you
cause the two of
could set it
Rupi Kaur is a contemporary Punjabi poet born in Canada. Her first book was self-published in 2014, and she’s taken off from there.1 As with most of her poetry, the poem above is permeated with self reliance. But that doesn’t mean the poem is devoid of love—in fact, the strong independence of the narrator leads to a stronger, more pure love.
[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)
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)
Of course, e. e. cummings needs no introduction. His unique writing style earns him a spot on this list—the poem isn’t flowery or gushing; instead, its simple repetition gives it a humble, honest appeal. This poem is perfect if you’re not one for flashy declarations of love, but still want your Love to know how you feel. Keep it simple, sweetie!
To My Dear and Loving Husband
BY ANNE BRADSTREET
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Anne Bradstreet is a woman of firsts, the most notable being that she was the first recognized New World Poet2—impressive in general, but also because she was a woman and this was 1600s, three hundred years before women had the right to vote. Her poem explores the shared happiness of marriage, and celebrates lovers as equals; both need to be happy for the relationship to be happy.
BY TYLER KNOTT GREGSON
I will never be
the first of so many things
for you. I came too late,
after life and love
were woven into the
of your existence. I care not
about lost firsts,
but I will fight, knuckles
bloody and teeth sharpened,
for your lasts.
Take the old firsts
and put them to rest,
silent below the dirt
and ash of all the new ones
we will burn through.
Take them, but
give me the
Tyler Knott Gregson has been sharing his writing since 20093 and he says it best in this poem—you might not be your spouse’s first anything, but all that matters is that you’re their last everything. If you’re getting married later in life, or even if you’re not, but you recognize that your significant other had a life before they met you, the respectful love in this poem is perfect for your vows.
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
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.
Of course William Shakespeare was going to make it on the list! He might be more well-known for his plays, but he was also an avid poet. “Sonnet 116” is one of his better know love poems, cherishing the stability of love. According to Shakespeare, true love is “never shaken” and “alters not.” Inspiring words for your big day and promises of forever!
BY LANG LEAV
You were you,
and I was I;
we were two
before our time.
I was yours
before I knew,
and you have always
been mine too.
The third contemporary poet to make the cut is Lang Leav. Known internationally for her simple poetry that often ends with a twist or Aha! moment, this short, sweet poem perfectly sums up the bond two soulmates share even before they meet. Use it at the beginning of your vows, and share a story from when you first met your spouse, or when you first knew they were The One.
The Wall Hanging I Never Noticed
BY DOROTHEA LASKY
I never noticed before
How the red flowers hang from the blue branches
I never noticed before the light in this room
I never noticed the way the air is cool again
I never noticed anything but you
But you but you
So that I couldn’t sleep
I never noticed what was anything but you
Until I noticed you
And could not help it
Until I noticed you I could not help it
Until you made the red flowers alive again
Until the blue branches
The lemons you loved, but also the way you loved me, too
Until all of this I never noticed you
But once I did
I never minded noticing
I never stopped noticing
Until I noticed you
I never stopped noticing
Until you, I never stopped
Isn’t it incredible how perspectives change when you’re in love? Dorothea Lasky thinks so—her whole world changed—even colors seemed more colorful! Having that special someone as a support system in your life is hard to put into words, but Dorothea’s poem encompasses it well if you’re struggling with your own explanation.
Did you read these poems and think None of these really fit our relationship? Challenge yourself to write a poem that does sum up your relationship. Create one from scratch, or piece together lines or phrases from other poems to make a poem unique to your love story—and then share it with us below!