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Great Occasions

Great Occasions

Readings for the Celebration of Birth, Coming-of-Age, Marriage, and Death

Words to honor the watershed events of life--birth, coming of age, marriage and death

Editor: Carl Seaburg

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Words to honor the watershed events of life--birth, coming of age, marriage and death. Inlcudes services for adoption, divorce and memorials. Index of authors, first lines and subjects. For ministers, hospices and more.

What are the great occasions in human life? Birth, maturity, marriage, and death: these are the four corners of human life. These are the crystallizing events, the distinguishable days, the great occasions.

In these pages, Carl Seaburg has brought together over 650 pieces of writing to commemorate these moments. Poetry and prose, the work of writers as diverse as Aiken, Pound, Dickinson, Seneca, Blake, Buddha, Bront?, Marcuse, Stevens, Sexton, Tagore, Lippman, Sandburg, Sarton, Pasternak, Lao Tzu, Yevtushenko, and Yeats-the rich expression of human appreciation and celebration of our own great occasions. These then are the acts and words which proclaim it is good to exist, to know the pleasures and duties of maturity, to live companioned, and to experience life in its sorrow and joy.

A Unitarian Universalist minister, Carl Seaburg served parishes in the three northern New England states and worked as an editor for Beacon Press, before his death in 1998. He was the author of Boston Observed and the co-author of Merchant Prince of Boston and Medford on the Mystic.

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For The Occasion of Birth

An eye comes out of the wave

Give back life for life

We take the future from ourselves

Yourself! Yourself! Yourself, for ever and ever

The egg has a mind

For the Occasion of Coming-Of-Age

The lords and owners of their faces

Now there is time and Time is young

And meet the road-erect

For The Occasion of Marriage

Such music in a skin!

Love's characters come face to face

The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea

We are those two natural and nonchalant persons

Love is the great Asker

Love has the longest history

For The Occasion of Death

The long custom of surrender

Agonies are one of my changes of garments

Looking at death is dying

Egypt and Greece good-bye, and good-bye Rome

The goal of all life is death

Praise to our fairing hearts

The future is worth expecting

What the grave says, the nest denies

Absence becomes the greatest presence

Woods where the woodthrush forever sings

Out of the white immensities always young

The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions

Appendixes

A. A Ceremony of Adoption

B. A Rite of Divorce

C. A Memorial Service

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