A Beautiful Pair Married in Canberra

Miri and Iain were married on the land of the Ngunawal and Ngambri people, the original custodians of the land where the National Gallery of Australia now sits by the lake. A land of rich colours that has been witness to many ceremonies, songs and stories for tens of thousands of years. They chose to be married under the eucalypts in the pear sculpture garden.

Iain and Miri chose three readings for their ceremony which they had dear friends and family read. It is unusual to have this many readings and I also crafted a poem from their love letters that was shared just before the vows. I share it below.

On Love by Kahlil Gibran

Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love. And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.

And with a great voice he said:

     Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

     Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

     For love is sufficient unto love.

     Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

     But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

     To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

     To know the pain of too much tenderness.

     To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

     And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

     To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

     To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

     To return home at eventide with gratitude;

     And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

On Marriage by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?

     And he answered saying:

     You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

     You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

     Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

     But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

     And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

     Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

     Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

     Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

     Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

     Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

     Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

     Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

     For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

     And stand together yet not too near together:

     For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

     And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

After the poem I wrote and read: Kahlil Gibran says the oak tree and the cypress do not grow in each other’s shadow, yet Miri and Iain are growing a forest where their buds and leaves and roots and fruit, are growing together in a rich, fertile, humic tangle, and they also ensure that there’s enough space that they can both get the full sun and feel the wind through their leaves. Their life is exciting, in a calm and quiet way, like the sun rising.  That sounds very romantic and it is. In life’s reality however, there is often the Disney version and what actually happens. They had taken their time to declare their love and they are both glad that they waited until they were both comfortable. For things don’t always go to plan. Iain chose a magical spot for his proposal to Miri. The rose finches were a good omen. The day of the proposal was a great metaphor for how to make the most of life – best laid plans; hilarious setbacks; contrived miscommunications for plot purpose – and while Iain might wish he could change a few details, Miri says, the feelings of that day will last forever.

Miri read this following poem at her sister’s wedding. Now, it was time for her sister to read it to them.

The Amber Spyglass

by Philip Pullman

I will love you forever; whatever happens.
Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead,
I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again.

I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment.
And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart.

Every atom of me and every atom of you. We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams.

And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.

Most of this ceremony and the next reading I crafted from Miri and Iain’s love letters that they wrote to each other in preparation for their wedding today. This reading is called:

I am Home

You are my guiding lighthouse

When it’s stormy and the journey is rough.

You are my sun and moon and stars.

My sun because you are the warmth and light

At the centre of my life, which shapes my days.

My moon because even as our relationship changes,

As the tides rise and fall,

It is at the core still shining

With a steady silver light.

My stars because you are beautiful,

We are beautiful together,

Full of mystery and wonder

And a thousand, thousand stories,

Let us always navigate our way

From our own inner light

And from the light we see in each other.

Let us nurture an aura of calm and safety,

So that we might feel held and protected.

Let us wrap each other up in our limbs and our love.

May we continue to get excited about each other,

Remembering what it is like to feel the butterflies.

You, my love, are like a great big shady tree.
I sit and smell the warm grass and listen to the birds.

And know that I am home.

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