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Ring Exchange / Vows / Intentions / Promises

With These Rings

You are fresh words

On the old stone of time


Here, silence honours you

Here, now, the earth turns,

The sun beats, the rain sings


You are not adrift

Among the wheeling constellations

But held by the hoop of love


Ancient as the ring of standing stones

Prophetic as a snow-ring round the moon

Marriage is


Wear your vows well when laughter

Is the wine between you,

Or when night lies like a bolster

Down the middle of your bed


May the cold shoulder of the hill

Always afford you shelter.

May the sun always seek you

However dark the place.


We who are wordless know

Thorns have roses.

And when you go from this day

The burnished stars go with you


When you go forward from this day,

The love that grew you

Grows with you


And marriage is struck,

Iron on stone, hand in hand.


I might have raised your hand to the sky

to give you the ring surrounding the moon

or looked to twin the rings of your eyes

with mine

or added a ring to the rings of a tree

by forming a handheld circle with you, thee,

or walked with you
where a ring of church-bells,

looped the fields,

or kissed a lipstick ring on your cheek,

a pressed flower,
or met with you

in the ring of an hour,
and another hour . . .

I might
have opened your palm to the weather, turned, turned,

till your fingers were ringed in rain

or held you close,

they were playing our song,

in the ring of a slow dance

or carved our names

in the rough ring of a heart

or heard the ring of an owl's hoot

as we headed home in the dark

or the ring, first thing,

of chorusing birds

waking the house

or given the ring of a boat, rowing the lake,

or the ring of swans, monogamous, two,

or the watery rings made by the fish

as they leaped and splashed

or the ring of the sun's reflection there . . .

I might have tied

a blade of grass,

a green ring for your finger,

or told you the ring of a sonnet by heart

or brought you a lichen ring,

found on a warm wall,

or given a ring of ice in winter

or in the snow

sung with you the five gold rings of a carol

or stolen a ring of your hair

or whispered the word in your ear

that brought us here,
where nothing and no one is wrong, 

and therefore I give you this ring.

A Vow

I cannot promise never to be angry;

I cannot promise always to be kind.

You know what you are taking on, my darling –

It's only at the start that love is blind.

And yet I'm still the one you want to be with

And you're the one for me of that I'm sure.

You are my closest friend, my favourite person,

The lover and the home I've waited for.

I cannot promise that I will deserve you

From this day on, I hope to pass that test.


I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.

I Take

I take

your body where love takes place

I take

your mouth where my life takes shape

I take

your breath which makes my space


I take

you as you are, for good


I take

you with open arms, to have


I take

you to have and to hold but not to hold too hard


I take

you for farther for closer, for sooner for later

death tries to get us and we laugh and we stall

and we tell it to call us some other fine day

because we are busy today taking our tea with buttered hope and

I take


I take


Bridled Vows (can be amended for husband/wife as needed)

I will be faithful to you, I do vow 

but not until the seas have all run dry


although I mean it now,

I'm not a prophet and I will not lie.

To be your perfect wife, I could not swear;

I'll love, yes; honour (maybe); won't obey,

but will co-operate if you will care

as much as you are seeming to today.

I'll do my best to be your better half,

but I don't have the patience of a saint;

not with you, at you I may sometimes laugh,

and snap too, though I'll try to learn restraint.

We might work out: no blame if we do not.

With all my heart, I think it's worth a shot.

Vow: The Simplest, Hardest and the Truest Thing

One: We live in love, so finally are come today

(beyond the glad rags and the sweet bouquet

beyond cake or ring or all this fuss)

to this, the simplest and the truest thing for us.

Other: If you can say, my love – and hand on heart –

I will love you until death do us part –

One: – Hand on heart,
I will love you till death do us part.

Other: Then look me in my eyes – and now!

and here! – this kiss we kiss shall be our vow.


I vow to honour the commitment made this day

Which, unlike the flowers and the cake,

Will not wither or decay. 

A promise, not to obey

But to respond joyfully, to forgive and to console,

For once incomplete, we now are whole.

I vow to bear in mind that if, at times

Things seem to go from bad to worse,

They also go from bad to better.

The lost purse is handed in, the letter

Contains wonderful news 

Trains run on time,

Hurricanes run out of breath, floods subside,

And toast lands jam-side up.

And with this ring, my final vow:

To recall, whatever the future may bring,

The love I feel for you now.

The Vows

We pledge to wake each morning face-to-face,

to shun the orders of the busy sun,

we promise to disturb each other's peace.


And we will, yes, gaze at the pining moon,

will pick out brine-blown glass-gems from the sand,

will read our future scratched onto a stone.


We're naked, till we wear each other's scent

and recognize it quicker than our own.

You start and finish me, you're my extent.

I speak these words to many and for one.


Say yes.

That word on your lips is a kiss;

is a promise already made,

We made it.


Love did not turn from hurt
or hard work.

When lights failed, it did not switch off.

When love had no road,

we willingly built it.


We shouldered its stones

and its dirt.  So thank goodness

there are days like this when it's easy.

When we open our mouths

and the words flood in.


Put the word of your hand

in mine.

We have learnt to hold to each other

when nothing was given by right;

how love will insist

with its ache; 

with its first painful

tug on the guts;


its snake in the nest of the ribs;

the bomb in the chest;

in the Y of the thighs; the red, red

red sun of it, rising.

How love must, at all costs,

be answered. We have answered

and so have a million before us

and each of their names is a vow.

So now I can tell you, 

quite simply
you are the house I will live in:


there is no good reason

to move. Good earth,

you are home, stone, sun,

all my countries. Vital to me

as the light. You are it


and I am asking.

Say yes.


Love opens a door

then slams it. It does.

It loses its touch and its looks.

But love needs its fury.

We have fought


and when times make it necessary,

we will again. When night draws in,

we won't forget

how once the streets ran wet with light

and love. Like blood. They will again.


But for now,

we make our promises gently.

This extraordinary day we have made.

Listen –

the birds in their ordinary heaven.


Tonight the sky will blaze

with stars. Today, my love,

rooms bloom with flowers.

Say yes.

The sky is ours.

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