Modern Stories

In my Modern Stories blog, I explore how contemporary ceremonies can sit between the traditions we value and the modern lives we lead.


at a time

Forough Farrokhzad: I Will Greet The Sun Again

One of my favourites from Iranian poet and icon Forough Farrokhzad. When it comes to readings and memorials, we can shy away from some poets because of the strength of their voice....  more  

The “We” of Wedding Speeches

Escape the trap of “I” and honour the collective nature of speech giving   more  

Recent Readings: Neruda's Love Sonnets

Love poetry can be difficult: too sensual, too sorrowful, too cliche? I found this Neruda poem worked better than expected.  more  

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

Whilst celebrants might avoid a poem which such a title, especially for modern ceremonies, this one stands the text of time.  more  

Eulogy Writing

Independent celebrants have a chance to shape your ceremony with a eulogy; but how might you shape your own?  more  

Adichie's Notes on Grief

Independent celebrants can exercise a lot of creativity when designing a ceremony and this prose piece invites exactly that kind of approach.  more  

Ruth Ozeki: Loss and Impermanence

Ozeki shows us how life can change forever in a moment. This extract, from 'The Book of Form and Emptiness' is a powerful exploration of loss and impermanence.  more  

Woolf On Grief

Prose extracts can be powerful but also a challenge. Here's some tips.  more  

Darling by Jackie Kay

A beautiful reading on grief from a queer, Glaswegian, radical voice.  more  

Ways to shape a journey

If you don't have an encyclopaedic knowledge of ceremony-ready literature, this post might be a good place to start  more