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Love and Death: Readings for Weddings and Funerals about Fire and Light

Fire and light have long been symbols of love, but also remembrance, so this month I chose tracks and readings with fire and light. You can listen back to the warm, sometimes bright sounds on Mixcloud.

The Candle by Catherine Turner

A candle burns bright in a window of gold 

A candle burns bright in a window of gold

A beacon for life's weary heart

Promising beauty and splendours untold

Of a world that now keeps us apart

We travelled the path of our lives side by side

But this path you walked on your own

To a world where no pain and no suffering reside

While I stay in this world alone

So darling please tend to the candle for me

And nourish the flame lest it dies

Till the day when its radiant beauty I see

And it guides me at last to your side

May the Blessing of Light Be on You - traditional Irish blessing

May the blessed sunlight shine on you

Like a great peat fire,

So that strangers and friends may come

And warm themselves at it. 

And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,

Like a candle set in the window of a house,

Bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm. 

And may the blessing of the rain be on you,

May it beat upon your Spirit

And wash it fair and clean,

And leave there a shining pool

Where the blue of Heaven shines,

And sometimes a star. 

And may the blessing of the earth be on you,

Soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,

Soft under you as you lie out on it,

Tired at the end of day;

And may it rest easy over you

When, at last, you lie out under it. 

May it rest so lightly over you

That your soul may be out

From under it quickly;

Up and off and on its way to Heaven. 

And now may Spirit bless you,

And bless you kindly.

I Love You by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I love your lips when they’re wet with wine

And red with a wild desire;

I love your eyes when the lovelight lies

Lit with a passionate fire.

I love your arms when the warm white flesh

Touches mine in a fond embrace;

I love your hair when the strands enmesh

Your kisses against my face.

Not for me the cold, calm kiss

Of a virgin’s bloodless love;

Not for me the saint’s white bliss,

Nor the heart of a spotless dove.

But give me the love that so freely gives

And laughs at the whole world’s blame,

With your body so young and warm in my arms,

It sets my poor heart aflame.

So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth,

Still fragrant with ruby wine,

And say with a fervor born of the South

That your body and soul are mine.

Clasp me close in your warm young arms,

While the pale stars shine above,

And we’ll live our whole young lives away

In the joys of a living love.

A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Sonia Leung

Like ten thousand fireflies in the night sky,

you stood on the street,

waving lit mobile phones.

Across the island, Peninsula,

North, and Lion Rock’s top,

you lined and linked.

Holding hands, hearts in sync,

you stayed steadfast,

pursuing breakthroughs.

In this state of wonder –a boundless blue,

you breathed and regrouped.

Shafts of light

pierced the leaden clouds,

after chaos and clashes.

A disappearing culture

in a changing era,

like broken jars lost in the fight.

Revisiting the night,

you felt the warmth in your palms

when the rain started falling.

You dreamed of a bright new dawn –ten thousand fireflies

carried you on.

Paul Alexander “Light A Candle”

And I will light a candle for you

To shatter all the darkness and bless the times we knew

Like a beacon in the night

The flame will burn bright and guide us on our way

Oh, today I light a candle for you

The seasons come and go, and I’m weary from the change

I keep moving on, you know it’s not the same

And when I’m walking all alone

Do you hear me call your name?

Do you hear me sing the songs we used to sing?

You filled my life with wonder, touched me with surprise

Always saw that something special deep within your eyes

And through the good times and the bad

We carried on with pride

I hold on to the love and life we knew

incandescence / iridescence / bioluminescence by Nicole Cecilia Delgado Translated from the Spanish by Urayoán Noel

The Esperanza pier glows at night, that's why we dove off

Esperanza. All our bodies slathered in light, learning from

the maker of light. In the sea there are animals that carry

fire inside. Their name is unpronounceable. So we're simply

moons, iridescent skin, melting in a sea of light.

The Elements of Love from

The Elements of Love

May your Love be like the earth

Rich, natural, and deeply rooted

Strong as rock yet soft as sand

Always growing and always patient

May your love be like fire

Passionate, intense and energetic

A flame that never dies

As radiant as the morning sun

And as warm as an evening embrace

May your love be like water

Moving, constantly changing

Never still, never stagnant

As vast as the ocean

And as fresh as a spring's rain

May your love be like air

The sharing of dreams, thoughts and emotions

Always fragrant, always carefree

Found in the breeze of a whisper

Or in the breath of a kiss

May your love be like all four elements

Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually intertwined

To create the perfect balance

And to craft the perfect ribbon

For to bind these two hearts into one

Fire Of Love by John Laset

Fire is love and love is fire;

And the fire is within me,

Burning brightly - lighting my way

Every day.

I know now where heaven is on earth;

And it is in your arms, warm and soft -

Full of the fire that burns our soul,

Making us one, making us whole.

Hold me beneath your wings, my angel;

And we'll fly away together.

Fly far away into our own secret place,

Where you and I can share this fire.

This fire in our hearts that will burn forever

True Love by Unknown

True love is a sacred flame

That burns eternally

And none can dim its special glow

Or change its destiny

True love speaks in tender tones

And hears with gentle ear

True love gives with open heart

And true love conquers fear

True love makes no harsh demands

It neither rules nor binds

And true love holds with gentle hands

The heart that it entwines

From Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite. Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven … What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great. An unworthy thought can no more germinate in it, than a nettle on a glacier.

Love Is Friendship Caught Fire by Laura Hendricks 

Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. It is the day-in and day-out chronicles of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough.

In the Winter in Fairbanks, Even the Light Comes Late to Class by Nicole Stellon O'Donnell

On Monday in December the sun rises at 10:40. Red sky. Black clouds.

Among all the slouched backs, curved necks, and notebook-scrawling hands,

only one student notices, a girl, the one writing about the room in which

her mother died. She says, I have never seen a sunrise like that, and twenty-eight

other heads look up from their pens and notebooks. I had never and will

never again read a description of a hospital bed like the one she was writing

at that moment. Years later, she will email to ask if I have that piece she wrote

about her mother, and I will have to tell her I don’t. But this morning, neither

of us can foresee this future small grief. So I stop class while all twenty-nine

line up at the windows to watch the light. Fifty-eight eyes open out onto

snow, the parking lot, the shovel-scraped sidewalk, red brake lights, dull

frosted stop signs. Red sky and burnt clouds. This morning, deep winter,

sunrise comes, hours late, long after the tardy bell and without excuse.

Wedding Poem by Whitney Hanson

They say that sometimes

love starts with a spark.

And that might be true,

but if I were to wish you a love,

I wouldn't wish fire for you.

You see, fire is powerful.

It burns bright and then it's gone.

It's beautiful and warm,

but it doesn't last long.

So instead of wishing you a love that burns,

I wish you a love like a river twists and turns.

It changes and it flows,

It is powerful and free.

But it consistently finds its way back to the sea.

And so like the water,

I hope your love is ever growing, ever changing.

I hope your love is powerful and free,

And may you always find each other,

Like a river finds the sea.

How like a fire doth Love increase in me? By Lady Mary Wroth

    The longer that it lasts the stronger still;

    The greater, purer, brighter; and doth fill

    No eye with wonder more than hopes still bee.


Bred in my breast, when fires of Love are free

    To use that part to their best pleasing will,

    And now unpossible it is to kill

    The heate so great where Love his strength doth see.


Mine eyes can scarce sustaine the flames, my heart

    Doth trust in them my passions to impart,

    And languishingly strive to shew my love.


My breath not able is to breath least part

    Of that increasing fuell of my smart;

    Yet love I will, till I but ashes prove.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Charles Bukowski

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

After Glow by Helen Lowrie Marshall

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.

I’d like to leave an after glow of smiles when life is done.

I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,

Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun

Of happy memories that I leave when life is done

I loved this one and I hope you did too! Let me know what you think and come back every second Tuesday of the month on Voices Radio for more fun music selections and readings you might use for weddings or funerals. You can also listen back to this show and others on Mixcloud.


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