Readings are not only a great way to involve family and friends in your special day, but they are also a lovely way to personalize your ceremony. These five poems by LGBTQ+ writers will no doubt bring a tear to your guests’ eyes.

O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman

In his love poem, O Me! O Life!, Walt Whitman, long thought to have been gay or bisexual, wonders what good life brings him. His answer is the person he loves:

“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Having a Coke with you by Frank O’Hara

In this delightful poem, Frank O’Hara celebrates the simple daily pleasures of being in love:

“Having a Coke with You is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne,” it begins. And later, “I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world.”

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sthandwa sami (my beloved, in isiZulu) by Yrsa Daley-Ward

Written by 37-year-old queer English writer Yrsa Daley-Ward, who is of both Jamaican and Nigerian descent, this beautiful love poem encompasses the excitement of dreaming about a life together:

“I can see the house on the hill where we grow our own vegetables out back
and drink warm wine out of jam jars
and sing songs in the kitchen until the sun comes up
you make me feel like myself
again. Myself before I had any solid reasons to be anything else.”

The Love Poems of June Jordan

Jamaican-American poet June Jordan has an entire book of love poems, aptly called Haruko/Love Poems.  Poems like Poem for my Love would be a lovely part of any ceremony. There is also a beautiful couplet from the poem, Update:

“Still I am learning unconditional and true/Still I am burning unconditional for you.”

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For the Courtesan Ch’ing Lin by Wu Tsao

Wu Tsao, considered one of the great Chinese lesbian poets, lived in the early 1800s, and wrote this beautiful love poem that in part reads:

“You glow like a perfumed lamp
In the gathering shadows.
We play wine games
And recite each other’s poems.
Then you sing, ‘Remembering South of the River’
With its heartbreaking verses. Then
We paint each other’s beautiful eyebrows.
I want to possess you completely–
Your jade body
And your promised heart.
It is Spring.
Vast mists cover the Five Lakes.
My dear, let me buy a red painted boat
And carry you away.”

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