71 Best Love And Pain Poems

These are 71 best love and pain poems.

From Sorrow to The Wish.

If you want the best poems about love and pain in one place, then this poetry collection is for you.

Let’s jump right into it!

Table of Contents

71 Best Love And Pain Poems (Categorized).

My Favorite Love And Pain Poem

If You Should Go

Love, leave me like the light,
The gently passing day;
We would not know, but for the night,
When it has slipped away.

So many hopes have fled,
Have left me but the name
Of what they were. When love is dead,
Go thou, beloved, the same.

Go quietly; a dream
When done, should leave no trace
That it has lived, except a gleam
Across the dreamer’s face.

Countee Cullen

Poems About Pain and Hurt

Silhouette of a girl alone and sad at the beach before sunrise

Sorrow

Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain, —
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Solitude

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ‘round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

Edgar Allan Poe

Sonnet V

Once more into my arid days like dew,
Like wind from an oasis, or the sound
Of cold sweet water bubbling underground,
A treacherous messenger, the thought of you
Comes to destroy me; once more I renew
Firm faith in your abundance, whom I found
Long since to be but just one other mound
Of sand, whereon no green thing ever grew.
And once again, and wiser in no wise,
I chase your colored phantom on the air,
And sob and curse and fall and weep and rise
And stumble pitifully on to where,
Miserable and lost, with stinging eyes,
Once more I clasp,—and there is nothing there.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Flower-Gathering

I left you in the morning,
And in the morning glow,
You walked a way beside me
To make me sad to go.
Do you know me in the gloaming,
Gaunt and dusty grey with roaming?
Are you dumb because you know me not,
Or dumb because you know?

All for me? And not a question
For the faded flowers gay
That could take me from beside you
For the ages of a day?
They are yours, and be the measure
Of their worth for you to treasure,
The measure of the little while
That I’ve been long away.

Robert Frost

My Heart and I

I.
Eough! we’re tired, my heart and I.
We sit beside the headstone thus,
And wish that name were carved for us.
The moss reprints more tenderly
The hard types of the mason’s knife,
As heaven’s sweet life renews earth’s life
With which we’re tired, my heart and I.

II.
You see we’re tired, my heart and I.
We dealt with books, we trusted men,
And in our own blood drenched the pen,
As if such colours could not fly.
We walked too straight for fortune’s end,
We loved too true to keep a friend ;
At last we’re tired, my heart and I.

III.
How tired we feel, my heart and I !
We seem of no use in the world ;
Our fancies hang grey and uncurled
About men’s eyes indifferently ;
Our voice which thrilled you so, will let
You sleep; our tears are only wet :
What do we here, my heart and I ?

IV.
So tired, so tired, my heart and I !
It was not thus in that old time
When Ralph sat with me ‘neath the lime
To watch the sunset from the sky.
Dear love, you’re looking tired,’ he said;
I, smiling at him, shook my head :
‘Tis now we’re tired, my heart and I.

V.
So tired, so tired, my heart and I !
Though now none takes me on his arm
To fold me close and kiss me warm
Till each quick breath end in a sigh
Of happy languor. Now, alone,
We lean upon this graveyard stone,
Uncheered, unkissed, my heart and I.

VI.
Tired out we are, my heart and I.
Suppose the world brought diadems
To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
Of powers and pleasures ? Let it try.
We scarcely care to look at even
A pretty child, or God’s blue heaven,
We feel so tired, my heart and I.

VII.
Yet who complains ? My heart and I ?
In this abundant earth no doubt
Is little room for things worn out :
Disdain them, break them, throw them by
And if before the days grew rough
We once were loved, used, — well enough,
I think, we’ve fared, my heart and I.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Ashes of Life

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;
Eat I must, and sleep I will, — and would that night were here!
But ah! — to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!
Would that it were day again! — with twilight near!

Love has gone and left me and I don’t know what to do;
This or that or what you will is all the same to me;
But all the things that I begin I leave before I’m through, —
There’s little use in anything as far as I can see.

Love has gone and left me, — and the neighbors knock and borrow,
And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse, —
And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
There’s this little street and this little house.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

A Cry

Oh, there are eyes that he can see,
And hands to make his hands rejoice,
But to my lover I must be
Only a voice.

Oh, there are breasts to bear his head,
And lips whereon his lips can lie,
But I must be till I am dead.

Sara Teasdale

Sorrow. Song.

To me this world’s a dreary blank,
All hopes in life are gone and fled,
My high strung energies are sank,
And all my blissful hopes lie dead.–

The world once smiling to my view,
Showed scenes of endless bliss and joy;
The world I then but little knew,
Ah! little knew how pleasures cloy;
All then was jocund, all was gay,
No thought beyond the present hour,
I danced in pleasure’s fading ray,
Fading alas! as drooping flower.

Nor do the heedless in the throng,
One thought beyond the morrow give,
They court the feast, the dance, the song,
Nor think how short their time to live.
The heart that bears deep sorrow’s trace,
What earthly comfort can console,
It drags a dull and lengthened pace,
‘Till friendly death its woes enroll.–

The sunken cheek, the humid eyes,
E’en better than the tongue can tell;
In whose sad breast deep sorrow lies,
Where memory’s rankling traces dwell.–

The rising tear, the stifled sigh,
A mind but ill at ease display,
Like blackening clouds in stormy sky,
Where fiercely vivid lightnings play.

Thus when souls’ energy is dead,
When sorrow dims each earthly view,
When every fairy hope is fled,
We bid ungrateful world adieu.

AUGUST, 1810.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Lady in white vintage lace dress hugs lover in foggy forest.

If You Could Come

My love, my love, if you could come once more
From your high place,
I would not question you for heavenly lore,
But, silent, take the comfort of your face.

I would not ask you if those golden spheres
In love rejoice,
If only our stained star hath sin and tears,
But fill my famished hearing with your voice.

One touch of you were worth a thousand creeds.
My wound is numb
Through toil-pressed, but all night long it bleeds
In aching dreams, and still you cannot come.

Katharine Lee Bates

Ebb

I know what my heart is like
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

He Will Not Come

Take out the blossom in your hair abloom,
No more it seemeth beautiful, or bright,
And sickening is its subtly sweet perfume–
He will not come to-night.

Take off the necklace with its sparkling gem,
And rings that glow and glitter in the light,
And fling them in the case that waits for them–
He will not come to-night.

Take off the robe a little while ago
You chose, to make you fairer in his sight;
‘Tis ten o’clock. So late you can but know
He will not come to-night.

He will not come. God grant you strength and grace,
For never more upon your mortal sight
Shall dawn a glimpse of that beloved face
That did not come to-night.

He will not come. And through the shadowed years,
The perfume of that blossom that you wore
Shall stir the fount of salt and bitter tears–
For one who comes no more.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

But Not To Me

The April night is still and sweet
With flowers on every tree;
Peace comes to them on quiet feet,
But not to me.

My peace is hidden in his breast
Where I shall never be;
Love comes to-night to all the rest,
But not to me.

Sara Teasdale

We Parted in Silence

We parted in silence, we parted by night,
On the banks of that lonely river;
Where the fragrant limes their boughs unite,
We met—and we parted forever!
The night-bird sung, and the stars above
Told many a touching story,
Of friends long passed to the kingdom of love,
Where the soul wears its mantle of glory.

We parted in silence,—our cheeks were wet
With the tears that were past controlling;
We vowed we would never, no, never forget,
And those vows at the time were consoling;
But those lips that echoed the sounds of mine
Are as cold as that lonely river;
And that eye, that beautiful spirit’s shrine,
Has shrouded its fires forever.

And now on the midnight sky I look,
And my heart grows full of weeping;
Each star is to me a sealèd book,
Some tale of that loved one keeping.
We parted in silence,—we parted in tears,
On the banks of that lonely river:
But the odor and bloom of those bygone years
Shall hang o’er its waters forever.

Louisa Macartney Crawford

Deep In The Night

Deep in the night the cry of a swallow,
Under the stars he flew,
Keen as pain was his call to follow
Over the world to you.

Love in my heart is a cry forever
Lost as the swallow’s flight,
Seeking for you and never, never
Stilled by the stars at night.

Sara Teasdale

A Lonely Moment

I sit alone in the gray,
The snow falls thick and fast,
And never a sound have I heard all day
But the wailing of the blast,
And the hiss and click of the snow, whirling to and fro.

There seems no living thing
Left in the world but I;
My thoughts fly forth on restless wing,
And drift back wearily,
Storm-beaten, buffeted, hopeless, and almost dead.

No one there is to care;
Not one to even know
Of the lonely day and the dull despair
As the hours ebb and flow,
Slow lingering, as fain to lengthen out my pain.

And I think of the monks of old,
Each in his separate cell,
Hearing no sound, except when tolled
The stated convent bell.
How could they live and bear that silence everywhere?

And I think of tumbling seas,
‘Neath cruel, lonely skies;
And shipwrecked sailors over these
Stretching their hungry eyes,–
Eyes dimmed with wasting tears for weary years on years,–

Pacing the hopeless sand,
Wistful and wan and pale,
Each foam-flash like a beckoning hand,
Each wave a glancing sail,
And so for days and days, and still the sail delays.

I hide my eyes in vain,
In vain I try to smile;
That urging vision comes again,
The sailor on his isle,
With none to hear his cry, to help him live–or die!

And with the pang a thought
Breaks o’er me like the sun,
Of the great listening Love which caught
Those accents every one,
Nor lost one faintest word, but always, always heard.

The monk his vigil pale
Could lighten with a smile,
The sailor’s courage need not fail
Upon his lonely isle;
For there, as here, by sea or land, the pitying Lord stood
close at hand.

O coward heart of mine!
When storms shall beat again,
Hold firmly to this thought divine,
As anchorage in pain:
That, lonely though thou seemest to be, the Lord is near,
remembering thee.

Susan Coolidge (sarah Chauncey Woolsey)

Song Of The Night At Daybreak

All my stars forsake me,
And the dawn-winds shake me.
Where shall I betake me?

Whither shall I run
Till the set of sun,
Till the day be done?

To the mountain-mine,
To the boughs o’ the pine,
To the blind man’s eyne,

To a brow that is
Bowed upon the knees,
Sick with memories.

Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson Meynell

Tears, Idle Tears

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the under world;
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge,—
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love and wild with all regret,—
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sonnet

I touched the heart that loved me as a player
Touches a lyre; content with my poor skill
No touch save mine knew my beloved (and still
I thought at times: Is there no sweet lost air
Old loves could wake in him, I cannot share?).
Oh, he alone, alone could so fulfil
My thoughts in sound to the measure of my will.
He is gone, and silence takes me unaware.

The songs I knew not he resumes, set free
From my constraining love, alas for me!
His part in our tune goes with him; my part
Is locked in me for ever; I stand as mute
As one with full strong music in his heart
Whose fingers stray upon a shattered lute.

Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson Meynell

At Twilight Time

At twilight time when tolls the chime,
And saddest notes are falling,
A lonely bird with plaintive word
Across the dusk is calling.
Vain doth it wait for one dear mate,
That ne’er shall know the morrow;
Then sinks to rest with drooping crest
In one long dream of sorrow.

Dearest, when night is here,
To thee I’m calling,
Sadly as tear on tear
Is slowly falling,
Oh, fold me near, more near –
In love enthralling!
Here on thy breast,
While life shall last,
With thee I stay.
Here will I rest
Till night is past,
And comes the day!

Arthur Macy

In Autumn

The leaves are many under my feet,
And drift one way.
Their scent of death is weary and sweet.
A flight of them is in the grey
Where sky and forest meet.

The low winds moan for dead sweet years;
The birds sing all for pain,
Of a common thing, to weary ears,-
Only a summer’s fate of rain,
And a woman’s fate of tears.

I walk to love and life alone
Over these mournful places,
Across the summer overthrown,
The dead joys of these silent faces,
To claim my own.

I know his heart has beat to bright
Sweet loves gone by.
I know the leaves that die to-night
Once budded to the sky,
And I shall die from his delight.

O leaves, so quietly ending now,
You have heard cuckoos sing.
And I will grow upon my bough
If only for a Spring,
And fall when the rain is on my brow.

O tell me, tell me ere you die,
Is it worth the pain?
You bloomed so fair, you waved so high;
Now that the sad days wane,
Are you repenting where you lie?

I lie amongst you, and I kiss
Your fragrance mouldering.
O dead delights, is it such bliss,
That tuneful Spring?
Is love so sweet, that comes to this?

O dying blisses of the year,
I hear the young lambs bleat,
The clamouring birds i’ the copse I hear,
I hear the waving wheat,
Together laid on a dead-leaf bier.

Kiss me again as I kiss you;
Kiss me again;
For all your tuneful nights of dew,
In this your time of rain,
For all your kisses when Spring was new.

You will not, broken hearts; let be.
I pass across your death
To a golden summer you shall not see,
And in your dying breath
There is no benison for me.

There is an autumn yet to wane,
There are leaves yet to fall,
Which, when I kiss, may kiss again,
And, pitied, pity me all for all,
And love me in mist and rain.

Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson Meynell

Famous Poems About Love And Pain

Lonely girl going on rural road with wild flowers in the background.

Yesterday and To-morrow

Yesterday I held your hand,
Reverently I pressed it,
And its gentle yieldingness
From my soul I blessed it.

But to-day I sit alone,
Sad and sore repining;
Must our gold forever know
Flames for the refining?

Yesterday I walked with you,
Could a day be sweeter?
Life was all a lyric song
Set to tricksy meter.

Ah, to-day is like a dirge,—
Place my arms around you,
Let me feel the same dear joy
As when first I found you.

Let me once retrace my steps,
From these roads unpleasant,
Let my heart and mind and soul
All ignore the present.

Yesterday the iron seared
And to-day means sorrow.
Pause, my soul, arise, arise,
Look where gleams the morrow.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Places Among The Stars

Places among the stars,
Soft gardens near the sun,
Keep your distant beauty;
Shed no beams upon my weak heart.
Since she is here
In a place of blackness,
Not your golden days
Nor your silver nights
Can call me to you.
Since she is here
In a place of blackness,
Here I stay and wait.

Stephen Crane

After Love

There is no magic any more,
We meet as other people do,
You work no miracle for me
Nor I for you.

You were the wind and I the sea,
There is no splendor any more,
I have grown listless as the pool
Beside the shore.

But though the pool is safe from storm
And from the tide has found surcease,
It grows more bitter than the sea,
For all its peace.

Sara Teasdale

Come, Let Us Kisse and Parte

Since there ’s no helpe,—come, let us kisse and parte,
Nay, I have done,—you get no more of me;
And I am glad,—yea, glad with all my hearte,
That thus so cleanly I myselfe can free.
Shake hands forever!—cancel all our vows;
And when we meet at any time againe,
Be it not seene in either of our brows,
That we one jot of former love retaine.

Now—at the last gaspe of Love’s latest breath—
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies;
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now! if thou wouldst—when all have given him over—
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

Michael Drayton

Alone

I am alone, in spite of love,
In spite of all I take and give,
In spite of all your tenderness,
Sometimes I am not glad to live.

I am alone, as though I stood
On the highest peak of the tired gray world,
About me only swirling snow,
Above me, endless space unfurled;

With earth hidden and heaven hidden,
And only my own spirit’s pride
To keep me from the peace of those
Who are not lonely, having died.

Sara Teasdale

The Aziola

1.
‘Do you not hear the Aziola cry?
Methinks she must be nigh,’
Said Mary, as we sate
In dusk, ere stars were lit, or candles brought;
And I, who thought
This Aziola was some tedious woman,
Asked, ‘Who is Aziola?’ How elate
I felt to know that it was nothing human,
No mockery of myself to fear or hate:
And Mary saw my soul,
And laughed, and said, ‘Disquiet yourself not;
‘Tis nothing but a little downy owl.’

2.
Sad Aziola! many an eventide
Thy music I had heard
By wood and stream, meadow and mountain-side,
And fields and marshes wide, –
Such as nor voice, nor lute, nor wind, nor bird,
The soul ever stirred;
Unlike and far sweeter than them all.
Sad Aziola! from that moment I
Loved thee and thy sad cry.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sonnet II

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Lonesome tree without leaves against cold sunset sky.

Dead Love

God let me listen to your voice,
And look upon you for a space,
And then he took your voice away,
And dropped a veil before your face.
God let me look within your eyes,
And touch for once your clinging hand,
And then he left me all alone,
And took you to the Silent Land.
I cannot weep, I cannot pray,
My heart has very silent grown,
I only watch how God gives love,
And then leaves lovers all alone.

Sara Teasdale

Thinkin’ Long

Oh thinkin’ long ’s the weary work!
It breaks my heart from dawn
Till all the wee, wee, friendly stars
Come out at dayli’gone.
An’ thinkin’ long ’s the weary work,
When I must spin and spin,
To drive the fearsome fancies out,
An’ hold the hopeful in!

Ah, sure my lad is far away!
My lad who left our glen
When from the soul of Ireland came
A call for fightin’ men;
I miss his gray eyes glancin’ bright,
I miss his liltin’ song,
And that is why, the lonesome day,
I ’m always thinkin’ long.

May God’s kind angels guard him
When the fray is fierce and grim,
And blunt the point of every sword
That turns its hate on him,
Where round the torn yet dear green flag
The brave and lovin’ throng—
But the lasses of Glenwherry smile
At me for thinkin’ long.

Anna MacManus (Ethna Carbery)

A Love Song

Ah, love, my love is like a cry in the night,
A long, loud cry to the empty sky,
The cry of a man alone in the desert,
With hands uplifted, with parching lips,

Oh, rescue me, rescue me,
Thy form to mine arms,
The dew of thy lips to my mouth,
Dost thou hear me?–my call thro’ the night?

Darling, I hear thee and answer,
Thy fountain am I,
All of the love of my soul will I bring to thee,
All of the pains of my being shall wring to thee,
Deep and forever the song of my loving shall sing to thee,
Ever and ever thro’ day and thro’ night shall I cling to thee.
Hearest thou the answer?
Darling, I come, I come.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

A Question

A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.

Robert Frost

Never Give All the Heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

William Butler Yeats

The Past

1.
Wilt thou forget the happy hours
Which we buried in Love’s sweet bowers,
Heaping over their corpses cold
Blossoms and leaves, instead of mould?
Blossoms which were the joys that fell,
And leaves, the hopes that yet remain.

2.
Forget the dead, the past? Oh, yet
There are ghosts that may take revenge for it,
Memories that make the heart a tomb,
Regrets which glide through the spirit’s gloom,
And with ghastly whispers tell
That joy, once lost, is pain.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

If

If life were but a dream, my Love,
And death the waking time;
If day had not a beam, my Love,
And night had not a rhyme,–
A barren, barren world were this
Without one saving gleam;
I ‘d only ask that with a kiss
You ‘d wake me from the dream.

If dreaming were the sum of days,
And loving were the bane;
If battling for a wreath of bays
Could soothe a heart in pain,–
I ‘d scorn the meed of battle’s might,
All other aims above
I ‘d choose the human’s higher right,
To suffer and to love!

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Bad Dreams I

Last night I saw you in my sleep:
And how your charm of face was changed!
I asked, “Some love, some faith you keep?”
You answered, “Faith gone, love estranged.”

Whereat I woke, a twofold bliss:
Waking was one, but next there came
This other: “Though I felt, for this,
My heart break, I loved on the same.”

Robert Browning

Pain

Waves are the seas white daughters,
And raindrops the children of rain,
But why for my shimmering body
Have I a mother like Pain?

Night is the mother of stars,
And wind the mother of foam,
The world is brimming with beauty,
But I must stay at home.

Sara Teasdale

Poems For Hurting Heart

Brunette attractive woman looking melancholic at sea.

If You Should Go

Love, leave me like the light,
The gently passing day;
We would not know, but for the night,
When it has slipped away.

So many hopes have fled,
Have left me but the name
Of what they were. When love is dead,
Go thou, beloved, the same.

Go quietly; a dream
When done, should leave no trace
That it has lived, except a gleam
Across the dreamer’s face.

Countee Cullen

His Last Letter

Well, you are free;
The longed-for, lied-for, waited-for decree
Is yours to-day.
I made no protest–and you had your say,
And left me with no vestige of repute.
“Neglect, abuse, and cruelty” you charge,
With broken marriage-vows. The list was large,
But not to be denied. So I was mute.

Now you shall listen to a few plain facts
Before you go out wholly from my life
As some man’s wife.
Read carefully this statement of your acts
Which changed the luster of my honeymoon
To somber gloom,
And wrenched the cover from Pandora’s box.

In those first talks
‘Twixt bride and groom, I showed you my whole heart,
Showed you how deep my love was and how true;
With all a strong man’s feeling I loved you.
(God, how I loved you, my own chosen mate!)
But I learned this
(So poorly did you play your little part):
You married marriage–to avoid the fate
Of having “Miss”
Carved on your tombstone. Love you did not know;
But you were greedy for the showy things
That money brings.
Such weak affection as you could bestow
Was given the provider, not the lover.

The knowledge hurt. Keen pain like that is dumb
And masks itself in smiles, lest men discover.
But I was lonely, and the feeling grew,
The more I studied you.
Into your shallow heart love could not come;
But yet you loved my love, because it gave
The prowess of a mistress o’er a slave.
You showed your power
In petty tyranny, hour after hour,
Day after day, year after lengthening year.
My tasks, my pleasures, my pursuits were not
Held near or dear,
Or made to seem important in your thought.
My friends were not your friends; you goaded me
By foolish and ignoble jealousy.
Till, through suggestion’s laws,
I gave you cause.
The beauteous ideal love had hung
In my soul’s shrine,
And worshiped as a something all divine,
With wanton hand you flung
Into the dust. And then you wondered why
My love should die.

My sins and derelictions cry aloud
To all the world. My head is bowed
Under its merited reproaches. Yours
Is lifted to receive
The sympathy the court’s decree insures.
The world loves to believe
In Man’s depravity and Woman’s worth;
But I am one of many men on earth
Whose loud, resounding fall
Is like the crashing of some well-built wall,
Which those who seek can trace
To the slow work of insects at its base.

Be not afraid;
The alimony will be promptly paid.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Nevermore

Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell;
Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell
Cast up thy Life’s foam-fretted feet between;
Unto thine eyes the glass where that is seen
Which had Life’s form and Love’s, but by my spell
Is now a shaken shadow intolerable,
Of ultimate things unuttered the frail screen.

Mark me, how still I am! But should there dart
One moment through my soul the soft surprise
Of that winged Peace which lulls the breath of sighs,—
Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn apart
Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart
Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Sonnet IV

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far,—
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Farewell

Farewell, sweetheart, and again farewell;
To day we part, and who can tell
If we shall e’er again
Meet, and with clasped hands
Renew our vows of love, and forget
The sad, dull pain.

Dear heart, ’tis bitter thus to lose thee
And think mayhap, you will forget me;
And yet, I thrill
As I remember long and happy days
Fraught with sweet love and pleasant memories
That linger still

You go to loved ones who will smile
And clasp you in their arms, and all the while
I stay and moan
For you, my love, my heart and strive
To gather up life’s dull, gray thread
And walk alone.

Aye, with you love the red and gold
Goes from my life, and leaves it cold
And dull and bare,
Why should I strive to live and learn
And smile and jest, and daily try
You from my heart to tare?

Nay, sweetheart, rather would I lie
Me down, and sleep for aye; or fly
To regions far
Where cruel Fate is not and lovers live
Nor feel the grim, cold hand of Destiny
Their way to bar.

I murmur not, dear love, I only say
Again farewell. God bless the day
On which we met,
And bless you too, my love, and be with you
In sorrow or in happiness, nor let you
E’er me forget.

Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Through Time and Bitter Distance

Unknown to you, I walk the cheerless shore.
The cutting blast, the hurl of biting brine,
May freeze, and still, and bind the waves at war,
Ere you will ever know, O! Heart of mine,
That I have sought, reflected in the blue
Of these sea depths, some shadow of your eyes;
Have hoped the laughing waves would sing of you,
But this is all my starving sight descries—

Far out at sea a sail
Bends to the freshening breeze,
Yields to the rising gale,
That sweeps the seas;

Yields, as a bird wind-tossed,
To saltish waves that fling
Their spray, whose rime and frost
Like crystals cling

To canvas, mast and spar,
Till, gleaming like a gem,
She sinks beyond the far
Horizon’s hem.

Lost to my longing sight,
And nothing left to me
Save an oncoming night,—
An empty sea.

Emily Pauline Johnson

The Dream

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking, —
White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
There was a shutter loose, —it screeched!

Swung in the wind, — and no wind blowing! —
I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort, —
And you were gone! Cold, cold as dew,

Under my hand the moonlight lay!
Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter, —
Ah, it is good to feel you there!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

A Song

Is anyone sad in the world, I wonder?
Does anyone weep on a day like this
With the sun above, and the green earth under?
Why, what is life but a dream of bliss?

With the sun, and the skies, and the birds above me,
Birds that sing as they wheel and fly—
With the winds to follow and say they love me—
Who could be lonely? O no, not I!

Somebody said, in the street this morning,
As I opened my window to let in the light,
That the darkest day of the world was dawning;
But I looked, and the East was a gorgeous sight.

One who claims that he knows about it
Tells me the Earth is a vale of sin;
But I and the bees and the birds—we doubt it,
And think it a world worth living in.

Some one says that hearts are fickle,
That love is sorrow, that life is care,
And the reaper Death, with his shining sickle,
Gathers whatever is bright and fair.

I told the thrush, and we laughed together,
Laughed till the woods were all a-ring;
And he said to me, as he plumed each feather,
“Well, people must croak, if they cannot sing.”

Up he flew, but his song, remaining,
Rang like a bell in my heart all day,
And silenced the voices of weak complaining,
That pipe like insects along the way.

O world of light, and O world of beauty!
Where are there pleasures so sweet as thine?
Yes, life is love, and love is duty;
And what heart sorrows? O no, not mine!

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I Hear an Army

I hear an army charging upon the land,
And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:
Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,
Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers.

They cry unto the night their battle-name:
I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore.
My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?

James Joyce

The Wound

I climbed to the crest,
And, fog-festooned,
The sun lay west
Like a crimson wound:

Like that wound of mine
Of which none knew,
For I’d given no sign
That it pierced me through.

Thomas Hardy
Bee on flower.

Pain In Pleasure

A thought ay like a flower upon mine heart,
And drew around it other thoughts like bees
For multitude and thirst of sweetnesses;
Whereat rejoicing, I desired the art
Of the Greek whistler, who to wharf and mart
Could lure those insect swarms from orange-trees
That I might hive with me such thoughts and please
My soul so, always. foolish counterpart
Of a weak man’s vain wishes! While I spoke,
The thought I called a flower grew nettle-rough
The thoughts, called bees, stung me to festering:
Oh, entertain (cried Reason as she woke)
Your best and gladdest thoughts but long enough,
And they will all prove sad enough to sting!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

L’Envoi

Where are the loves that we have loved before
When once we are alone, and shut the door?
No matter whose the arms that held me fast,
The arms of Darkness hold me at the last.
No matter down what primrose path I tend,
I kiss the lips of Silence in the end.
No matter on what heart I found delight,
I come again unto the breast of Night.
No matter when or how love did befall,
’Tis Loneliness that loves me best of all,
And in the end she claims me, and I know
That she will stay, though all the rest may go.
No matter whose the eyes that I would keep
Near in the dark, ’tis in the eyes of Sleep
That I must look and look forever more,
When once I am alone, and shut the door.

Willa Cather

Buried Love

I have come to bury Love
Beneath a tree,
In the forest tall and black
Where none can see.

I shall put no flowers at his head,
Nor stone at his feet,
For the mouth I loved so much
Was bittersweet.

I shall go no more to his grave,
For the woods are cold.
I shall gather as much of joy
As my hands can hold.

I shall stay all day in the sun
Where the wide winds blow,
But oh, I shall cry at night
When none will know.

Sara Teasdale

Left Behind

We started in the morning, a morning full of glee,
All in the early morning, a goodly company;
And some were full of merriment, and all were kind and dear:
But the others have pursued their way, and left me sitting here.

My feet were not so fleet as theirs, my courage soon was gone,
And so I lagged and fell behind, although they cried “Come on!”
They cheered me and they pitied me, but one by one went by,
For the stronger must outstrip the weak; there is no remedy.

Some never looked behind, but smiled, and swiftly, hand in hand,
Departed with, a strange sweet joy I could not understand;
I know not by what silver streams their roses bud and blow,
Rut I am glad–O very glad–they should be happy so.

And some they went companionless, yet not alone, it seemed;
For there were sounds of rustling wings, and songs,–or else we dreamed;
And a glow from lights invisible to us lit up the place,
And tinged, as if with glory, each dear and parting face.

So happy, happy did they look, as one by one they went,
That we, who missed them sorely, were fain to be content;
And I, who sit the last of all, left far behind, alone,
Cannot be sorry for their sakes, but only for my own.

My eyes seek out the different paths by which they went away,
And oft I wish to follow, but oftener wish to stay;
For fair as may the new things be, the farther things they know,
This is a pleasant resting-place, a pleasant place also.

There are flowers for the gathering, which grow my path anear,
The skies are fair, and everywhere the sun is warm and clear:
I may have missed the wine of life, the strong wine and the new,
But I have my wells of water, my sips of honey-dew.

So when I turn my thoughts from those who shared my dawn of day,
My fresh and joyous morning prune, and now are passed away,
I can see just how sweet all is, how good, and be resigned
To sit thus in the afternoon, alone and left behind.

Susan Coolidge (Sarah Chauncey Woolsey)

You Will Hear Thunder

You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

That day in Moscow, it will all come true,
when, for the last time, I take my leave,
And hasten to the heights that I have longed for,
Leaving my shadow still to be with you.

Anna Akhmatova

When Love Goes

I

O mother, I am sick of love,
I cannot laugh nor lift my head,
My bitter dreams have broken me,
I would my love were dead.

“Drink of the draught I brew for thee,
Thou shalt have quiet in its stead.”

II

Where is the silver in the rain,
Where is the music in the sea,
Where is the bird that sang all day
To break my heart with melody?

“The night thou badst Love fly away,
He hid them all from thee.”

Sara Teasdale

When Love Went

What whispered Love the day he fled?
Ah! this was what Love whispered;
“You sought to hold me with a chain;
I fly to prove such holding vain.

“You bound me burdens, and I bore
The burdens hard, the burdens sore;
I bore them all unmurmuring,
For Love can bear a harder thing.

“You taxed me often, teased me, wept;
I only smiled, and still I kept
Through storm and sun and night and day,
My joyous, viewless, faithful way.

“But, dear, once dearest, you and I
This day have parted company.
Love must be free to give, defer,
Himself alone his almoner.

“As free I freely poured my all,
Enslaved I spurn, renounce my thrall,
Its wages and its bitter bread.”
Thus whispered Love the day he fled!

Susan Coolidge (Sarah Chauncey Woolsey)

I Don’t Know If You’re Alive Or Dead

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead.
Can you on earth be sought,
Or only when the sunsets fade
Be mourned serenely in my thought?

All is for you: the daily prayer,
The sleepless heat at night,
And of my verses, the white
Flock, and of my eyes, the blue fire.

No-one was more cherished, no-one tortured
Me more, not
Even the one who betrayed me to torture,
Not even the one who caressed me and forgot.

Anna Akhmatova

A Winter Night

My window-pane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold to-night,
The moon is cruel, and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.

God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro,
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.

My room is like a bit of June,
Warm and close-curtained fold on fold,
But somewhere, like a homeless child,
My heart is crying in the cold.

Sara Teasdale

Sad Poems About Life and Pain

Woman outdoor in winter in emotional pain, hugging herself tightly.

Loss

In losing you I lost my sun and moon
And all the stars that blessed my lonely night.
I lost the hope of Spring, the joy of June,
The Autumn’s peace, the Winter’s firelight.
I lost the zest of living, the sweet sense
Expectant of your step, your smile, your kiss;
I lost all hope and fear and keen suspense
For this cold calm, sans agony, sans bliss.
I lost the rainbow’s gold, the silver key
That gave me freedom of my town of dreams;
I lost the path that leads to Faërie
By beechen glades and heron-haunted streams.
I lost the master word, dear love, the clue
That threads the maze of life when I lost you.

Winifred M. Letts

Tears

It seems I have no tears left. They should have fallen—
Their ghosts, if tears have ghosts, did fall—that day
When twenty hounds streamed by me, not yet combed out
But still all equals in their rage of gladness
Upon the scent, made one, like a great dragon
In Blooming Meadow that bends towards the sun
And once bore hops: and on that other day
When I stepped out from the double-shadowed Tower
Into an April morning, stirring and sweet
And warm. Strange solitude was there and silence.
A mightier charm than any in the Tower
Possessed the courtyard. They were changing guard,
Soldiers in line, young English countrymen,
Fair-haired and ruddy, in white tunics. Drums
And fifes were playing “The British Grenadiers.”
The men, the music piercing that solitude
And silence, told me truths I had not dreamed,
And have forgotten since their beauty passed.

Edward Thomas

The Last Rose of Summer

‘Tis the last rose of Summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh!

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one,
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie withered,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

Thomas Moore

If You Knew

If you could know the empty ache of loneliness,
Masked well behind the calm indifferent face
Of us who pass you by in studied hurriedness,
Intent upon our way, lest in the little space
Of one forgetful moment hungry eyes implore
You to be kind, to open up your heart a little more,
I’m sure you’d smile a little kindlier, sometimes,
To those of us you’ve never seen before.

If you could know the eagerness we’d grasp
The hand you’d give to us in friendliness;
What vast, potential friendship in that clasp
We’d press, and love you for your gentleness;
If you could know the wide, wide reach
Of love that simple friendliness could teach,
I’m sure you’d say “Hello, my friend,” sometimes,
And now and then extend a hand in friendliness to each.

Ruth Muskrat Bronson

The Day Is Done

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me,
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Miracle

Though I was dwelling in a prison house,
My soul was wandering by the carefree stream
Through fields of green with gold eyed daisies strewn,
And daffodils and sunflower cavaliers.
And near me played a little browneyed child,
A winsome creature God alone conceived,
“Oh, little friend,” I begged. “Give me a flower
That I might bear it to my lonely cell.”
He plucked a dandelion, an ugly bloom,
But tenderly he placed it in my hand,
And in his eyes I saw the sign of love.
‘Twas then the dandelion became a rose.

Fenton Johnson

The Captive Dove

Poor restless dove, I pity thee;
And when I hear thy plaintive moan,
I mourn for thy captivity,
And in thy woes forget mine own.

To see thee stand prepared to fly,
And flap those useless wings of thine,
And gaze into the distant sky,
Would melt a harder heart than mine.

In vain—in vain! Thou canst not rise
Thy prison roof confines thee there;
Its slender wires delude thine eyes,
And quench thy longings with despair.

Oh, thou wert made to wander free
In sunny mead and shady grove,
And far beyond the rolling sea,
In distant climes, at will to rove!

Yet, hadst thou but one gentle mate
Thy little drooping heart to cheer,
And share with thee thy captive state,
Thou couldst be happy even there.

Yes, even there, if, listening by,
One faithful dear companion stood,
While gazing on her full bright eye,
Thou might’st forget thy native wood.

But thou, poor solitary dove,
Must make, unheard, thy joyless moan;
The heart that Nature formed to love
Must pine, neglected, and alone.

Anne Brontë
Heartbroken lonely girl sits by the beach at sunset.

Sadness

It is a huge curtain,
stretched at a distance around me.
Aimless gypsies crawl up and over the curtain.
They are my days.
They neither sing nor laugh
but hop over the top of my sadness.
Here and there one wears a gay shirt.
He is faster than the rest.
Even in my sleep with closed eyes
I cannot pierce this drapery.
Some day I will wind a child’s smile around my face
and thus disguised
Slip through the curtain and jump…
Where?
Ah, yes, where?

William Saphier

Ode to the Sun

How many scenes, O sun,
Hast thou not shone upon!
How many tears, O light,
Have dropped before thy sight!
How many heart-felt sighs,
How many piercing cries,
How many deeds of woe,
Dost thy bright light not know!
How many broken hearts,
That are pierced by sorrow’s darts
How many maddened brains,
That are wild with passion’s rains;
How many soul-sick lives,
Stabbed with despair’s sharp knives,
Hast thou above the skies,
Not seen with thy radiant eyes!
Shine on, majestic one!
Shine on, O glorious sun!
And never fail to cheer
My life so dark and drear.
Whene’er thou shinest bright,
And show thy brilliant light,
The cares I know each day
Silently steal away.

Eloise Bibb Thompson

At Sea

In the pull of the wind I stand, lonely,
On the deck of a ship, rising, falling,
Wild night around me, wild water under me,
Whipped by the storm, screaming and calling.

Earth is hostile and the sea hostile,
Why do I look for a place to rest?
I must fight always and die fighting
With fear an unhealing wound in my breast.

Sara Teasdale

Lying In Me

Lying in me, as though it were a white
Stone in the depths of a well, is one
Memory that I cannot, will not, fight:
It is happiness, and it is pain.
Anyone looking straight into my eyes
Could not help seeing it, and could not fail
To become thoughtful, more sad and quiet
Than if he were listening to some tragic tale.

I know the gods changed people into things,
Leaving their consciousness alive and free.
To keep alive the wonder of suffering,
You have been metamorphosed into me.

Anna Akhmatova

A Year

She has been just a year in Heaven.
Unmarked by white moon or gold sun,
By stroke of clock or clang of bell,
Or shadow lengthening on the way,
In the full noon and perfect day,
In Safety’s very citadel,
The happy hours have sped, have run;
And, rapt in peace, all pain forgot,
She whom we love, her white soul shriven,
Smiles at the thought and wonders not.

We have been just a year alone,–
A year whose calendar is sighs,
And dull, perpetual wishfulness,
And smiles, each covert for a tear,
And wandering thoughts, half there, half here,
And weariful attempts to guess
The secret of the hiding skies,
The soft, inexorable blue,
With gleaming hints of glory sown,
And Heaven behind, just shining through.

So sweet, so sad, so swift, so slow,
So full of eager growth and light,
So full of pain which blindly grows,
So full of thoughts which either way
Have passed and crossed and touched each day,
To us a thorn, to her a rose;
The year so black, the year so white,
Like rivers twain their course have run;
The earthly stream we trace and know,
But who shall paint the heavenly one?

A year! We gather up our powers,
Our lamps we consecrate and trim;
Open all windows to the day,
And welcome every heavenly air.
We will press forward and will bear,
Having this word to cheer the way:
She, storm-tossed once, is safe with Him,
Healed, comforted, content, forgiven;
And while we count these heavy hours
Has been a year,–a year in Heaven.

Susan Coolidge (sarah Chauncey Woolsey)

The Sigh That Heaves the Grasses

The sigh that heaves the grasses
Whence thou wilt never rise
Is of the air that passes
And knows not if it sighs.

The diamond tears adorning
Thy low mound on the lea,
Those are the tears of morning,
That weeps, but not for thee.

Alfred Edward Housman

White Night

I haven’t locked the door,
Nor lit the candles,
You don’t know, don’t care,
That tired I haven’t the strength
To decide to go to bed.
Seeing the fields fade in
The sunset murk of pine-needles,
And to know all is lost,

That life is a cursed hell:
I’ve got drunk
On your voice in the doorway.
I was sure you’d come back.

Anna Akhmatova

The Wish

Should some great angel say to me to-morrow,
“Thou must re-tread thy pathway from the start,
But God will grant, in pity, for thy sorrow,
Some one dear wish, the nearest to thy heart.’

This were my wish! from my life’s dim beginning
Let be what has been! wisdom planned the whole;
My want, my woe, my errors, and my sinning,
All, all were needed lessons for my soul.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox