105 Best Romantic Love Poems

These are 105 best romantic love poems.

From The White Rose? to Silence.

So if you want all the best romantic poems in one place, then this poems list is what you’re looking for.

Let’s jump right in!

Table of Contents

Classic Love Poems From The Heart

Rustic theme groom and bride going through the field on sunset.

The White Rose

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

John Boyle O’Reilly

Love Sonnet

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art —
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priest-like task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors —
No — yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever — or else swoon to death.

John Keats

Love Is More Thicker Than Forget

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

E. E. Cummings

Flirtation

After all, there’s no need
to say anything

at first. An orange, peeled
and quartered, flares

like a tulip on a wedgewood plate
Anything can happen.

Outside the sun
has rolled up her rugs

and night strewn salt
across the sky. My heart

is humming a tune
I haven’t heard in years!

Quiet’s cool flesh—
let’s sniff and eat it.

There are ways
to make of the moment

a topiary
so the pleasure’s in

walking through.

Rita Dove

Aubade

Hark! hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings,
And Phoebus ‘gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With everything that pretty bin,
My lady sweet, arise!
Arise, arise!

William Shakespeare

Love, We’re Going Home Now

Love, we’re going home now,
Where the vines clamber over the trellis:
Even before you, the summer will arrive,
On its honeysuckle feet, in your bedroom.

Our nomadic kisses wandered over all the world:
Armenia, dollop of disinterred honey:
Ceylon, green dove: and the YangTse with its old
Old patience, dividing the day from the night.

And now, dearest, we return, across the crackling sea
Like two blind birds to their wall,
To their nest in a distant spring:

Because love cannot always fly without resting,
Our lives return to the wall, to the rocks of the sea:
Our kisses head back home where they belong.

Pablo Neruda

Sylvia

The Nymph that undoes me, is fair and unkind;
No less than a wonder by Nature designed.
She’s the grief of my heart, the joy of my eye;
And the cause of a flame that never can die!

Her mouth, from whence wit still obligingly flows,
Has the beautiful blush, and the smell, of the rose.
Love and Destiny both attend on her will;
She wounds with a look; with a frown, she can kill!

The desperate Lover can hope no redress;
Where Beauty and Rigour are both in excess!
In Sylvia they meet; so unhappy am I!
Who sees her, must love; and who loves her, must die!

George Etherege

San Antonio

Tonight I lingered over your name,
the delicate assembly of vowels
a voice inside my head.
You were sleeping when I arrived.
I stood by your bed
and watched the sheets rise gently.
I knew what slant of light
would make you turn over.
It was then I felt
the highways slide out of my hands.
I remembered the old men
in the west side cafe,
dealing dominoes like magical charms.
It was then I knew,
like a woman looking backward,
I could not leave you,
or find anyone I loved more.

Naomi Shihab Nye

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

George Gordon Byron

Sonnet 11

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

Pablo Neruda

A Negro Love Song

Seen my lady home las’ night,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Hel’ huh han’ an’ sque’z it tight,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Hyeahd huh sigh a little sigh,
Seen a light gleam f’om huh eye,
An’ a smile go flittin’ by⁠—
Jump back, honey, jump back.

Hyeahd de win’ blow thoo de pine,
Jump back, honey, jump back,
Mockin’-bird was singin’ fine,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
An’ my hea’t was beatin’ so,
When I reached my lady’s do’,
Dat I couldn’t ba’ to go⁠—
Jump back, honey, jump back.

Put my ahm aroun’ huh wais’,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Raised huh lips an’ took a tase,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Love me, honey, love me true?
Love me well ez I love you?
An’ she answe’d, “‘Cose I do”⁠—
Jump back, honey, jump back.

Paul Laurence Dunbar
Woman singing man on the piano looking at woman in love.

Song

You, whom I do not tell that all night long
I lie weeping,
whose very being makes me feel wanting
like a cradle.

You, who do not tell me, that you lie awake
thinking of me:—
what, if we carried all these longings within us
without ever being overwhelmed by them,
letting them pass?

Look at these lovers, tormented by love,
when first they begin confessing,
how soon they lie!

You make me feel alone. I try imagining:
one moment it is you, then it’s the soaring wind;
a fragrance comes and goes but never lasts.
Oh, within my arms I lost all whom I loved!
Only you remain, always reborn again.
For since I never held you, I hold you fast.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Let Us Live and Love

My sweetest Lesbia, let us live and love;
And though the sager sort our deeds reprove,
Let us not weigh them. Heaven’s great lamps do dive
Into their west, and straight again revive;
But, soon as once set is our little light,
Then must we sleep one ever-during night.

If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be;
No drum nor trumpet peaceful sleeps should move,
Unless alarm came from camp of love.
But fools do live and waster their little light,
And seek with pain their ever-during night.

When timely death my life and fortune ends,
Let not my hearse be vexed with mourning friends;
But let all lovers rich in triumph come,
And with sweet pastime grace my happy tomb.
And, Lesbia, close up thou my little light,
And crown with love by ever-during night.

Gaius Valerius Catullus

To Anthea Who May Command Him Anything

Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy Protestant to be;
Or bid me love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.

A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free
As in the whole world thou canst find,
That heart I’ll give to thee.

Bid that heart stay, and it will stay,
To honour thy decree;
Or bid it languish quite away.
And ‘t shall do so for thee.

Bid me to weep, and I will weep
While I have eyes to see;
And having none, yet I will keep
A heart to weep for thee.

Bid me despair, and I’ll despair,
Under that cypress tree;
Or bid me die, and I will dare
E’en Death, to die for thee.

Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
The very eyes of me,
And hast command of every part,
To live and die for thee.

Robert Herrick

Modern Love: XXIX

Am I failing? For no longer can I cast
A glory round about this head of gold.
Glory she wears, but springing from the mould;
Not like the consecration of the Past!
Is my soul beggared? Something more than earth
I cry for still: I cannot be at peace
In having Love upon a mortal lease.
I cannot take the woman at her worth!
Where is the ancient wealth wherewith I clothed
Our human nakedness, and could endow
With spiritual splendour a white brow
That else had grinned at me the fact I loathed?
A kiss is but a kiss now! and no wave
Of a great flood that whirls me to the sea.
But, as you will! we’ll sit contentedly,
And eat our pot of honey on the grave.

George Meredith

You, You Only, Exist

You, you only, exist.
We pass away, till at last,
our passing is so immense
that you arise: beautiful moment,
in all your suddenness,
arising in love, or enchanted
in the contraction of work.

To you I belong, however time may
wear me away. From you to you
I go commanded. In between
the garland is hanging in chance; but if you
take it up and up and up: look:
all becomes festival!

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rest With Your Dream Inside My Dream

Already, you are mine. Rest with your dream inside my dream.
Love, grief, labour, must sleep now.
Night revolves on invisible wheels
and joined to me you are pure as sleeping amber.

No one else will sleep with my dream, love.
You will go we will go joined by the waters of time.
No other one will travel the shadows with me,
only you, eternal nature, eternal sun, eternal moon.

Already your hands have opened their delicate fists
and let fall, without direction, their gentle signs,
you eyes enclosing themselves like two grey wings,

while I follow the waters you bring that take me onwards:
night, Earth, winds weave their fate, and already,
not only am I not without you, I alone am your dream.

Pablo Neruda

Sonnet 145

Those lips that Love’s own hand did make
Breath’d forth the sound that said I hate
To me that languish’d for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come.
Chiding that tongue, that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom:
And taught it thus anew to greet:
‘I hate’ she alter’d with an end
That follow’d it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,
And sav’d my life, saying ‘not you’

William Shakespeare

You, Therefore

You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name
as if it were budding shrubs, how you remind me
of some spring, the waters as cool and clear
(late rain clings to your leaves, shaken by light wind),
which is where you occur in grassy moonlight:
and you are a lily, an aster, white trillium
or viburnum, by all rights mine, white star
in the meadow sky, the snow still arriving
from its earthwards journeys, here where there is
no snow (I dreamed the snow was you,
when there was snow), you are my right,
have come to be my night (your body takes on
the dimensions of sleep, the shape of sleep
becomes you): and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you): home is nowhere, therefore you,
a kind of dwell and welcome, song after all,
and free of any eden we can name

Reginald Shepherd

I Remember You As You Were

I remember you as you were in the last autumn.
You were the grey beret and the still heart.
In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.
And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.

Clasping my arms like a climbing plant
the leaves garnered your voice, that was slow and at peace.
Bonfire of awe in which my thirst was burning.
Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

I feel your eyes traveling, and the autumn is far off:
Grey beret, voice of a bird, heart like a house
Towards which my deep longings migrated
And my kisses fell, happy as embers.

Sky from a ship. Field from the hills:
Your memory is made of light, of smoke, of a still pond!
Beyond your eyes, farther on, the evenings were blazing.
Dry autumn leaves revolved in your soul.

Pablo Neruda

The Passionate Freudian to His Love

Only name the day, and we’ll fly away
In the face of old traditions,
To a sheltered spot, by the world forgot,
Where we’ll park our inhibitions.
Come and gaze in eyes where the lovelight lies
As it psychoanalyzes,
And when once you glean what your fantasies mean
Life will hold no more surprises.
When you’ve told your love what you’re thinking of
Things will be much more informal;
Through a sunlit land we’ll go hand-in-hand,
Drifting gently back to normal.

While the pale moon gleams, we will dream sweet dreams,
And I’ll win your admiration,
For it’s only fair to admit I’m there
With a mean interpretation.
In the sunrise glow we will whisper low
Of the scenes our dreams have painted,
And when you’re advised what they symbolized
We’ll begin to feel acquainted.
So we’ll gaily float in a slumber boat
Where subconscious waves dash wildly;
In the stars’ soft light, we will say good-night—
And “good-night!” will put it mildly.

Our desires shall be from repressions free—
As it’s only right to treat them.
To your ego’s whims I will sing sweet hymns,
And ad libido repeat them.
With your hand in mine, idly we’ll recline
Amid bowers of neuroses,
While the sun seeks rest in the great red west
We will sit and match psychoses.
So come dwell a while on that distant isle
In the brilliant tropic weather;
Where a Freud in need is a Freud indeed,
We’ll always be Jung together.

Dorothy Parker

Lovers’ Infiniteness

If yet I have not all the love,
Dear, I shall never have it all,
I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move,
Nor can entreat one other tear to fall.
All my treasure, which should purchase thee,
Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent,
Yet no more can be due to me,
Than at the bargain made was meant.
If then thy gift of love were partial,
That some to me, some should to others fall,
Dear, I shall never have thee all.

Or if then thou gavest me all,
All was but all, which thou hadst then;
But if in thy heart, since, there be or shall
New love created be, by other men,
Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears,
In sighs, in oaths, and letters outbid me,
This new love may beget new fears,
For, this love was not vowed by thee.
And yet it was, thy gift being general,
The ground, thy heart is mine; whatever shall
Grow there, dear, I should have it all.

Yet I would not have all yet,
He that hath all can have no more,
And since my love doth every day admit
New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store;
Thou canst not every day give me thy heart,
If thou canst give it, then thou never gav’st it;
Love’s riddles are, that though thy heart depart,
It stays at home, and thou with losing sav’st it:
But we will have a way more liberal,
Than changing hearts, to join them, so we shall
Be one, and another’s all.

John Donne

Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

William Shakespeare

No, Love Is Not Dead

No, love is not dead in this heart these eyes and this mouth
that announced the start of its own funeral.
Listen, I’ve had enough of the picturesque, the colorful
and the charming.
I love love, its tenderness and cruelty.
My love has only one name, one form.
Everything disappears. All mouths cling to that one.
My love has just one name, one form.
And if someday you remember
O you, form and name of my love,
One day on the ocean between America and Europe,
At the hour when the last ray of light sparkles
on the undulating surface of the waves, or else a stormy night
beneath a tree in the countryside or in a speeding car,
A spring morning on the boulevard Malesherbes,
A rainy day,
Just before going to bed at dawn,
Tell yourself-I order your familiar spirit-that
I alone loved you more and it’s a shame
you didn’t know it.
Tell yourself there’s no need to regret: Ronsard
and Baudelaire before me sang the sorrows
of women old or dead who scorned the purest love.
When you are dead
You will still be lovely and desirable.
I’ll be dead already, completely enclosed in your immortal body,
in your astounding image forever there among the endless marvels
of life and eternity, but if I’m alive,
The sound of your voice, your radiant looks,
Your smell the smell of your hair and many other things
will live on inside me.
In me and I’m not Ronsard or Baudelaire

I’m Robert Desnos who, because I knew
and loved you,
Is as good as they are.
I’m Robert Desnos who wants to be remembered
On this vile earth for nothing but his love of you.

Robert Desnos

Famous Romantic Poetry Classics

Vintage couple embracing on railway station platform as train is about to depart.

In a Boat

See the stars, love,
In the water much clearer and brighter
Than those above us, and whiter,
Like nenuphars.

Star-shadows shine, love,
How many stars in your bowl?
How many shadows in your soul,
Only mine, love, mine?

When I move the oars, love,
See how the stars are tossed,
Distorted, the brightest lost.
—So that bright one of yours, love.

The poor waters spill
The stars, waters broken, forsaken.
—The heavens are not shaken, you say, love,
Its stars stand still.

There, did you see
That spark fly up at us; even
Stars are not safe in heaven.
—What of yours, then, love, yours?

What then, love, if soon
Your light be tossed over a wave?
Will you count the darkness a grave,
And swoon, love, swoon?

D. H. Lawrence

A Solar Eclipse

In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.

Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Meeting at Night

The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low:
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

Robert Browning

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

Christina Rossetti

A Line-storm Song

The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,
The road is forlorn all day,
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,
And the hoof-prints vanish away.
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
Expend their bloom in vain.
Come over the hills and far with me,
And be my love in the rain.

The birds have less to say for themselves
In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,
Although they are no less there:
All song of the woods is crushed like some
Wild, easily shattered rose.
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
Where the boughs rain when it blows.

There is the gale to urge behind
And bruit our singing down,
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
From which to gather your gown.
What matter if we go clear to the west,
And come not through dry-shod?
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast
The rain-fresh goldenrod.

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea’s return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when after doubt
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.

Robert Frost

The Heart of the Woman

O what to me the little room
That was brimmed up with prayer and rest;
He bade me out into the gloom,
And my breast lies upon his breast.

O what to me my mother’s care,
The house where I was safe and warm;
The shadowy blossom of my hair
Will hide us from the bitter storm.

O hiding hair and dewy eyes,
I am no more with life and death,
My heart upon his warm heart lies,
My breath is mixed into his breath.

W. B. Yeats

Lovers’ Infiniteness

If yet I have not all the love,
Dear, I shall never have it all,
I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move,
Nor can entreat one other tear to fall.
All my treasure, which should purchase thee,
Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent,
Yet no more can be due to me,
Than at the bargain made was meant.
If then thy gift of love were partial,
That some to me, some should to others fall,
Dear, I shall never have thee all.

Or if then thou gavest me all,
All was but all, which thou hadst then;
But if in thy heart, since, there be or shall
New love created be, by other men,
Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears,
In sighs, in oaths, and letters outbid me,
This new love may beget new fears,
For, this love was not vowed by thee.
And yet it was, thy gift being general,
The ground, thy heart is mine; whatever shall
Grow there, dear, I should have it all.

Yet I would not have all yet,
He that hath all can have no more,
And since my love doth every day admit
New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store;
Thou canst not every day give me thy heart,
If thou canst give it, then thou never gav’st it;
Love’s riddles are, that though thy heart depart,
It stays at home, and thou with losing sav’st it:
But we will have a way more liberal,
Than changing hearts, to join them, so we shall
Be one, and another’s all.

John Donne

I Wish I Could Remember

I wish I could remember that first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or Winter for aught I can say;
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom for many a May.
If only I could recollect it, such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand—Did one but know!

Christina Rossetti

Love’s Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

Percy Bysshe Shelley

When I Die I Want Your Hands On My Eyes

When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together
and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.

Pablo Neruda

Love In a Life

Room after room,
I hunt the house through
We inhabit together.
Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her,
Next time, herself!—not the trouble behind her
Left in the curtain, the couch’s perfume!
As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew,—
Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather.

Yet the day wears,
And door succeeds door;
I try the fresh fortune—
Range the wide house from the wing to the centre.
Still the same chance! she goes out as I enter.
Spend my whole day in the quest,—who cares?
But ’tis twilight, you see,—with such suites to explore,
Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!

Robert Browning
Young love couple gazing at each other man on girl's lap at the lake in summer.

The Look

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day.

Sara Teasdale

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

W. B. Yeats

The Face of All the World – Sonnet 7

The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink,
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm. The cup of dole
God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,
And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear.
The names of country, heaven, are changed away
For where thou art or shalt be, there or here;
And this… this lute and song… loved yesterday,
(The singing angels know) are only dear,
Because thy name moves right in what they say.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Love’s Coming

She had looked for his coming as warriors come,
With the clash of arms and the bugle’s call;
But he came instead with a stealthy tread,
Which she did not hear at all.

She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun,
As he rode like a prince to claim his bride:
In the sweet dim light of the falling night
She found him at her side.

She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye
Would wake her heart to a sudden glow:
She found in his face the familiar grace
Of a friend she used to know.

She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul,
As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm’s strife:
He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm,
And a peace which crowned her life.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

A Dream Girl

You will come one day in a waver of love,
Tender as dew, impetuous as rain,
The tan of the sun will be on your skin,
The purr of the breeze in your murmuring speech,
You will pose with a hill-flower grace.

You will come, with your slim, expressive arms,
A poise of the head no sculptor has caught
And nuances spoken with shoulder and neck,
Your face in pass-and-repass of moods
As many as skies in delicate change
Of cloud and blue and flimmering sun.

Yet,
You may not come, O girl of a dream,
We may but pass as the world goes by
And take from a look of eyes into eyes,
A film of hope and a memoried day.

Carl Sandburg

I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

Pablo Neruda

My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

William Shakespeare

Again and Again

Again and again, however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names,
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lie down again and again
among the flowers, face to face with the sky.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Tie Your Heart At Night To Mine, Love

Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply
to the sky’s questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.

Pablo Neruda

If Thou Must Love Me

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
“I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day” –
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry, –
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Take, O Take Those Lips Away

Take, O take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again,
bring again,
Seals of love, but seal’d in vain,
seal’d in vain.

William Shakespeare

It’s Good to Feel You Are Close to Me

It’s good to feel you are close to me in the night, love,
invisible in your sleep, intently nocturnal,
while I untangle my worries
as if they were twisted nets.

Withdrawn, your heart sails through dream,
but your body, relinquished so, breathes
seeking me without seeing me perfecting my dream
like a plant that seeds itself in the dark.

Rising, you will be that other, alive in the dawn,
but from the frontiers lost in the night,
from the presence and the absence where we meet ourselves,

something remains, drawing us into the light of life
as if the sign of the shadows had sealed
its secret creatures with flame.

Pablo Neruda

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

William Shakespeare

Carnal Apple, Woman Filled, Burning Moon

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
What primal night does Man touch with his senses?
Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.
Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and a genital fire, transformed by delight,
slips through the narrow channels of blood
to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
to be, and be nothing but light in the dark

Pablo Neruda

Lullaby

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreadful cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless.
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

W.H. Auden

Deep Meaningful Love Poems

Romantic dinner date on Valentines Day.

Evadne

I first tasted under Apollo’s lips,
love and love sweetness,
I, Evadne;
my hair is made of crisp violets
or hyacinth which the wind combs back
across some rock shelf;
I, Evadne,
was mate of the god of light.

His hair was crisp to my mouth,
as the flower of the crocus,
across my cheek,
cool as the silver-cress
on Erotos bank;
between my chin and throat,
his mouth slipped over and over.

Still between my arm and shoulder,
I feel the brush of his hair,
and my hands keep the gold they took,
as they wandered over and over,
that great arm-full of yellow flowers.

H. D.

Modern Love: XXIV

The misery is greater, as I live!
To know her flesh so pure, so keen her sense,
That she does penance now for no offence,
Save against Love. The less can I forgive!
The less can I forgive, though I adore
That cruel lovely pallor which surrounds
Her footsteps; and the low vibrating sounds
That come on me, as from a magic shore.
Low are they, but most subtle to find out
The shrinking soul. Madam, ’t is understood
When women play upon their womanhood;
It means, a Season gone. And yet I doubt
But I am duped. That nun-like look waylays
My fancy! Oh! I do but wait a sign!
Pluck out the eyes of pride! thy mouth to mind!
Never! though I die thirsting. Go thy ways!

George Meredith

Don’t Go Far Off, Not Even For A Day

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

Pablo Neruda

Sonnet w/ Rose

When I see you after so long not
seeing you it is like picking up in
side a fist the flopped red petals of
a drooped red rose, and when you
speak in the voice that could only be
yours it is like staring into my fist
top’s opening and seeing the rose
as the rose once was. This is not just
to say that the swirl and sweetness
soon flops back open to what now is,
though it does, but that when I see
you after so long not seeing you
I make sense of my feeling in terms
of the rose, and carry it past goodbye.

Matthew Yeager

The City is Peopled

The city is peopled
with spirits, not ghosts, O my love:

Though they crowded between
and usurped the kiss of my mouth
their breath was your gift,
their beauty, your life.

H. D.

Love’s Language

How does Love speak?
In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
The quivering lid of an averted eye–
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
While new emotions, like strange barges, make
Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
Still as the dawn, and with the dawn’s swift force–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the avoidance of that which we seek–
The sudden silence and reserve when near–
The eye that glistens with an unshed tear–
The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
As the alarmed heart leaps in the breast,
And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek–
The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
In all fair things to one beloved face;
In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
In looks and lips that can no more dissemble–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss–
Thus doth Love speak.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In the Bathroom Mirror

He continues to ponder
And his wife moves next to him.
She looks. They look at themselves
Looking through the fog.
She has a meeting she says in about
Thirty minutes, he has
Something too. But still she has
Just stepped out of the bath
And a single drop of water
Has curved along her breast
Down her abdomen and vialed in
Her navel then disappeared
In crimson. Unless they love
Then wake in love
Who can they ever be? Their faces bloom,
A rain mists down, the bare
Bulb softens above the glass,
So little light that
The hands mumble deliciously,
That the mouth opens
Mothlike, like petals finding
Themselves awake again
At four o’clock mid shade and sun.

Ralph Burns

To Say Before Going to Sleep

I would like to sing someone to sleep,
have someone to sit by and be with.
I would like to cradle you and softly sing,
be your companion while you sleep or wake.
I would like to be the only person
in the house who knew: the night outside was cold.
And would like to listen to you
and outside to the world and to the woods.

The clocks are striking, calling to each other,
and one can see right to the edge of time.
Outside the house a strange man is afoot
and a strange dog barks, wakened from his sleep.
Beyond that there is silence.

My eyes rest upon your face wide-open;
and they hold you gently, letting you go
when something in the dark begins to move.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Christopher Marlowe

Fons

Reanimated, spirit restored,
reincorporated, body restored,
I contemplate between dreams
the scene I’ve stolen
like the one who took fire,
like the one who opened the devil box
out of curiosity,
like the one who saw her equal
and her life’s love
were the same and so effortlessly
brought them together.
I took exactly
what was not mine,
with my eyes.
I saw the sea inside you:
on your surface, mud.
I kissed you like a shipwreck,
like one who insufflates the word.
With my lips I traveled
that entire continent,
Adam, from dirt, Nothing.
I knew myself in your substance,
grounded there,
emitting aromatic fumes,
an amatory banquet of ashes.

Pura López-Colomé
Young couple in love enjoying the travel on a vintage van during a golden sunset.

The Forms of Love

Parked in the fields
All night
So many years ago,
We saw
A lake beside us
When the moon rose.
I remember

Leaving that ancient car
Together. I remember
Standing in the white grass
Beside it. We groped
Our way together
Downhill in the bright
Incredible light

Beginning to wonder
Whether it could be lake
Or fog
We saw, our heads
Ringing under the stars we walked
To where it would have wet our feet
Had it been water

George Oppen

The Phantom Guest

We lay in shade diaphanous
And spoke the light that burns in us

As in the glooming’s net I caught her,
She shimmered like reflected water!

Romantic and emphatic moods
Are not for her whom life eludes…

Its vulgar tinsel round her fold?
She’d rather shudder with the cold,

Attend just this elusive hour,
A shadow in a shadow bower,

A moving imagery so fine,
It must have been her soul near mine

And so we blended and possessed
Each in each the phantom guest,

Inseparate, we scarcely met;
Yet other love-nights we forget!

Natalie Clifford Barney

I Loved You Before I Was Born

I loved you before I was born.
It doesn’t make sense, I know.

I saw your eyes before I had eyes to see.
And I’ve lived longing
for your ever look ever since.
That longing entered time as this body.
And the longing grew as this body waxed.
And the longing grows as the body wanes.
The longing will outlive this body.

I loved you before I was born.
It doesn’t make sense, I know.

Long before eternity, I caught a glimpse
of your neck and shoulders, your ankles and toes.
And I’ve been lonely for you from that instant.
That loneliness appeared on earth as this body.
And my share of time has been nothing
but your name outrunning my ever saying it clearly.
Your face fleeing my ever
kissing it firmly once on the mouth.

In longing, I am most myself, rapt,
my lamp mortal, my light
hidden and singing.

I give you my blank heart.
Please write on it
what you wish.

Li-Young Lee

Here I Love You

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.
Alone.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

Pablo Neruda

Woman in Love

That is my window. Just now
I have so softly wakened.
I thought that I would float.
How far does my life reach,
and where does the night begin

I could think that everything
was still me all around;
transparent like a crystal’s
depths, darkened, mute.

I could keep even the stars
within me; so immense
my heart seems to me; so willingly
it let him go again.

whom I began perhaps to love, perhaps to hold.
Like something strange, undreamt-of,
my fate now gazes at me.

For what, then, am I stretched out
beneath this endlessness,
exuding fragrance like a meadow,
swayed this way and that,

calling out and frightened
that someone will hear the call,
and destined to disappear
inside some other life.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The Definition of Love

My Love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne’r have flown
But vainly flapt its Tinsel Wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended Soul is fixt,
But Fate does Iron wedges drive,
And alwaies crowds it self betwixt.

For Fate with jealous Eye does see
Two perfect Loves; nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruine be,
And her Tyrannick pow’er depose.

And therefore her Decrees of Steel
Us as the distant Poles have plac’d,
(Though Love’s whole World on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac’d.

Unless the giddy Heaven fall,
And Earth some new Convulsion tear;
And, us to joyn, the World should all
Be cramp’d into a Planisphere.

As Lines so Loves oblique may well
Themselves in every Angle greet:
But ours so truly Parallel,
Though infinite can never meet.

Therefore the Love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debarrs,
Is the Conjunction of the Mind,
And Opposition of the Stars.

Andrew Marvell

Wooing Song

Love is the blossom where there blows
Every thing that lives or grows:
Love doth make the Heav’ns to move,
And the Sun doth burn in love:
Love the strong and weak doth yoke,
And makes the ivy climb the oak,
Under whose shadows lions wild,
Soften’d by love, grow tame and mild:
Love no med’cine can appease,
He burns the fishes in the seas:
Not all the skill his wounds can stench,
Not all the sea his fire can quench.
Love did make the bloody spear
Once a leavy coat to wear,
While in his leaves there shrouded lay
Sweet birds, for love that sing and play
And of all love’s joyful flame
I the bud and blossom am.
Only bend thy knee to me,
Thy wooing shall thy winning be!

See, see the flowers that below
Now as fresh as morning blow;
And of all the virgin rose
That as bright Aurora shows;
How they all unleavèd die,
Losing their virginity!
Like unto a summer shade,
But now born, and now they fade.
Every thing doth pass away;
There is danger in delay:
Come, come, gather then the rose,
Gather it, or it you lose!
All the sand of Tagus’ shore
Into my bosom casts his ore:
All the valleys’ swimming corn
To my house is yearly borne:
Every grape of every vine
Is gladly bruised to make me wine:
While ten thousand kings, as proud,
To carry up my train have bow’d,
And a world of ladies send me
In my chambers to attend me:
All the stars in Heav’n that shine,
And ten thousand more, are mine:
Only bend thy knee to me,
Thy wooing shall thy winning be!

Giles Fletcher

Love

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.

Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o’er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
Beside the ruin’d tower.

The moonshine, stealing o’er the scene,
Had blended with the lights of eve;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve!

She lean’d against the armèd man,
The statue of the armèd Knight;
She stood and listen’d to my lay,
Amid the lingering light.

Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope! my joy! my Genevieve!
She loves me best whene’er I sing
The songs that make her grieve.

I play’d a soft and doleful air;
I sang an old and moving story—
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.

She listen’d with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace;
For well she knew I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand;
And that for ten long years he woo’d
The Lady of the Land.

I told her how he pined: and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another’s love,
Interpreted my own.

She listen’d with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace;
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face!

But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he cross’d the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night;

That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade—

There came and look’d him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight!

And that, unknowing what he did,
He leap’d amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land;—

And how she wept and clasp’d his knees;
And how she tended him in vain—
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain;—

And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest leaves
A dying man he lay;—

His dying words—but when I reach’d
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faltering voice and pausing harp
Disturb’d her soul with pity!

All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrill’d my guileless Genevieve;
The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve;

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherish’d long!

She wept with pity and delight,
She blush’d with love and virgin shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.

Her bosom heaved—she stepp’d aside,
As conscious of my look she stept—
Then suddenly, with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.

She half enclosed me with her arms,
She press’d me with a meek embrace;
And bending back her head, look’d up,
And gazed upon my face.

‘Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly ’twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,
The swelling of her heart.

I calm’d her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride;
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Forget Me Not

When in the morning’s misty hour,
When the sun beams gently o’er each flower;
When thou dost cease to smile benign,
And think each heart responds with thine,
When seeking rest among divine,
Forget me not.

When the last rays of twilight fall,
And thou art pacing yonder hall;
When mists are gathering on the hill,
Nor sound is heard save mountain rill,
When all around bids peace be still,
Forget me not.

When the first star with brilliance bright,
Gleams lonely o’er the arch of night;
When the bright moon dispels the gloom,
And various are the stars that bloom,
And brighten as the sun at noon,
Forget me not.

When solemn sighs the hollow wind,
And deepen’d thought enraps the mind;
If e’er thou doest in mournful tone,
E’er sigh because thou feel alone,
Or wrapt in melancholy prone,
Forget me not.

When bird does wait thy absence long,
Nor tend unto its morning song;
While thou art searching stoic page,
Or listening to an ancient sage,
Whose spirit curbs a mournful rage,
Forget me not.

Then when in silence thou doest walk,
Nor being round with whom to talk;
When thou art on the mighty deep,
And do in quiet action sleep;
If we no more on earth do meet,
Forget me not.

When brightness round thee long shall bloom,
And knelt remembering those in gloom;
And when in deep oblivion’s shade,
This breathless, mouldering form is laid,
And thy terrestrial body staid,
Forget me not.

“Should sorrow cloud thy coming years,
And bathe thy happiness in tears,
Remember, though we’re doom’d to part,
There lives one fond and faithful heart,
That will forget thee not.”

Ann Plato

Love

Because of you, in gardens of blossoming
Flowers I ache from the perfumes of spring.
I have forgotten your face, I no longer
Remember your hands; how did your lips
Feel on mine?

Because of you, I love the white statues
Drowsing in the parks, the white statues that
Have neither voice nor sight.

I have forgotten your voice, your happy voice;
I have forgotten your eyes.

Like a flower to its perfume, I am bound to
My vague memory of you. I live with pain
That is like a wound; if you touch me, you will
Make to me an irreperable harm.

Your caresses enfold me, like climbing
Vines on melancholy walls.

I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to
Glimpse you in every window.

Because of you, the heady perfumes of
Summer pain me; because of you, I again
Seek out the signs that precipitate desires:
Shooting stars, falling objects.

Pablo Neruda

Romantic Love Poems By Famous Poets

Couple in love drinking coffee in a cozy coffee shop.

My Loves

I love to see the big white moon,
A-shining in the sky;
I love to see the little stars,
When the shadow clouds go by.

I love the rain drops falling
On my roof-top in the night;
I love the soft wind’s sighing,
Before the dawn’s gray light.

I love the deepness of the blue,
In my Lord’s heaven above;
But better than all these things I think,
I love my lady love.

Langston Hughes

I Love You

I love your lips when they’re wet with wine
And red with a wild desire;
I love your eyes when the lovelight lies
Lit with a passionate fire.
I love your arms when the warm white flesh
Touches mine in a fond embrace;
I love your hair when the strands enmesh
Your kisses against my face.

Not for me the cold, calm kiss
Of a virgin’s bloodless love;
Not for me the saint’s white bliss,
Nor the heart of a spotless dove.
But give me the love that so freely gives
And laughs at the whole world’s blame,
With your body so young and warm in my arms,
It sets my poor heart aflame.

So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth,
Still fragrant with ruby wine,
And say with a fervor born of the South
That your body and soul are mine.
Clasp me close in your warm young arms,
While the pale stars shine above,
And we’ll live our whole young lives away
In the joys of a living love.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Love Song

When my soul touches yours a great chord sings!
How shall I tune it then to other things?
O! That some spot in darkness could be found
That does not vibrate when’er your depth sound.
But everything that touches you and me
Welds us as played strings sound one melody.
Where is the instrument whence the sounds flow?
And whose the master-hand that holds the bow?
O! Sweet song—

Rainer Maria Rilke

I, Lover

I shall never have any fear of love,
Not of its depth nor its uttermost height,
Its exquisite pain and its terrible delight.
I shall never have any fear of love.

I shall never hesitate to go down
Into the fastness of its abyss
Nor shrink from the cruelty of its awful kiss.
I shall never have any fear of love.

Never shall I dread love’s strength
Nor any pain it might give.
Through all the years I may live
I shall never have any fear of love.

I shall never draw back from love
Through fear of its vast pain
But build joy of it and count it again.
I shall never have any fear of love.

I shall never tremble nor flinch
From love’s moulding touch:
I have loved too terribly and too much
Ever to have any fear of love.

Elsa Gidlow

Crossword

You’re doing a crossword.
I’m working on a puzzle.
Do you love me enough?
What’s the missing word?
Do I love you enough?
Where’s the missing piece?
Yesterday I was cross with you.
You weren’t paying enough attention.
You were cross with me.
I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Our words crossed.
Where are the missing pieces?
What are the missing words?
Yet last night we fit together like words in a crossword.
Pieces of a puzzle.

Lloyd Schwartz

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

For Who?

When the heavens with stars are gleaming
Like a diadem of light,
And the moon’s pale rays are streaming,
Decking earth with radiance bright;
When the autumn’s winds are sighing,
O’er the hill and o’er the lea,
When the summer time is dying,
Wanderer, wilt thou think of me?

When thy life is crowned with gladness,
And thy home with love is blest,
Not one brow o’ercast with sadness,
Not one bosom of unrest—
When at eventide reclining,
At thy hearthstone gay and free,
Think of one whose life is pining,
Breathe thou, love, a prayer for me.

Should dark sorrows make thee languish,
Cause thy cheek to lose its hue,
In the hour of deepest anguish,
Darling, then I’ll grieve with you.
Though the night be dark and dreary,
And it seemeth long to thee,
I would whisper, “be not weary;”
I would pray love, then, for thee.

Well I know that in the future,
I may cherish naught of earth;
Well I know that love needs nurture,
And it is of heavenly birth.
But though ocean waves may sever
I from thee, and thee from me,
Still this constant heart will never,
Never cease to think of thee.

Mary Weston Fordham

Evening Song

Dear love, what thing of all the things that be
Is ever worth one thought from you or me,
Save only Love,
Save only Love?

The days so short, the nights so quick to flee,
The world so wide, so deep and dark the sea,
So dark the sea;

So far the suns and every listless star,
Beyond their light—Ah! dear, who knows how far,
Who knows how far?

One thing of all dim things I know is true,
The heart within me knows, and tells it you,
And tells it you.

So blind is life, so long at last is sleep,
And none but Love to bid us laugh or weep,
And none but Love,
And none but Love.

Willa Cather

O Small Sad Ecstasy of Love

I like being with you all night with closed eyes.
What luck—here you are
coming
along the stars!
I did a road trip
all over my mind and heart
and
there you were
kneeling by the roadside
with your little toolkit
fixing something.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.

Anne Carson

Random Thoughts of Her

I gaze into her eyes—their tender light,
And strong, illumes my spirit’s darkest night,
And pours rich glory on me as a star
Which brings its silver luster from afar.

Sweet thoughts and beautiful within me burn,
And heaven I see what way soe’er I turn;
In borrowed radiance of her soulful glance
All things grow tenfold lovely and entrance.

I touch her willing hand—as gentle dove
It rests within my own, in trusting love;
And yet it moves me with a power so deep,
My heart is flame, and all my pulses leap.

I breathe her name unto the flowers: they bloom
With rarer hues, and shed more rich perfume!
The skylark hears it, as he floats along,
And adds new sweetness to his morning song.

Oh magic name! deep graven on my heart,
And, as its owner, of myself a part!
It hath in all my daily thoughts a share,
And forms the burden of my nightly prayer!

John Rollin Ridge
Young woman eyes closed, hands on chest, breathing outdoors in moss forest.

A Valentine

Out of the depths of a heart of love,
Out of the birth-place of sighs,
Freighted with hope and freighted with fear,
My all in a valentine, hies.
Oh, frail little missive
Of delicate texture,
Speed thee, on thy journey,
And give her a lecture!

Fathom her heart, that seems to me, cold,
Trouble her bosom, as mine,
Let it be mutual, this that I crave,
Her ‘yes’ for a valentine.
Oh, frail little missive,
In coy Cupid’s keeping,
Oh! speed back a message,
To set my pulse leaping.

Priscilla Jane Thompson

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled,Gladly Beyond

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

E. E. Cummings

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey, and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried,
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Edward Lear

Winter to Spring

Did not I remember that my hair is grey
With only a fringe of it left,
I’d follow your footsteps from wee break of day
Till night was of moon-light bereft.

Your eyes wondrous fountains of joy and of youth
Remind me of days long since flown,
My sweetheart, I led to the altar of truth,
But then the gay spring was my own.

Now winter has come with its snow and its wind
And made me as bare as its trees,
Oh, yes, I still love, but it’s only in mind,
For I’m fast growing weak at the knees.

Your voice is as sweet as the song of a bird,
Your manners are those of the fawn,
I dream of you, darling,—oh, pardon, that word,
From twilight to breaking of dawn.

Your name in this missive you’ll search for in vain,
Nor mine at the finis, I’ll fling,
For winter must suffer the bliss and the pain
In secret for loving the spring.

Irvin W. Underhill

I Loved You First: But Afterwards Your Love

I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Christina Rossetti

The Rainbow

Love is a rainbow that appears
When heaven’s sunshine lights earth’s tears.

All varied colors of the light
Within its beauteous arch unite:

There Passion’s glowing crimson hue
Burns near Truth’s rich and deathless blue;

And Jealousy’s green lights unfold
‘Mid Pleasure’s tints of flame and gold.

O dark life’s stormy sky would seem,
If love’s clear rainbow did not gleam!

Effie Waller Smith

Ah Moon and Star!

Ah, Moon—and Star!
You are very far—
But were no one
Farther than you—
Do you think I’d stop
For a Firmament—
Or a Cubit—or so?
I could borrow a Bonnet
Of the Lark—
And a Chamois’ Silver Boot—
And a stirrup of an Antelope—
And be with you—Tonight!

But, Moon, and Star,
Though you’re very far—
There is one—farther than you—
He—is more than a firmament—from Me—

So I can never go!

Emily Dickinson

Lovely One

Lovely one,
Just as on the cool stone
Of the spring, the water
Opens a wide flash of foam,
So is the smile of your face,
Lovely one.

Lovely one,
With delicate hands and slender feet
Like a silver pony,
Walking, flower of the world,
Thus I see you,
Lovely one.

Lovely one,
With a nest of copper entangled
On your head, a nest
The coloUr of dark honey
Where my heart burns and rests,
Lovely one.

Lovely one,
Your eyes are too big for your face,
Your eyes are too big for the earth.

There are countries, there are rivers,
In your eyes,
My country is your eyes,
I walk through them,
They light the world
Through which I walk,
Lovely one.

Lovely one,
Your breasts are like two loaves made
Of grainy earth and golden moon,
Lovely one.

Lovely one,
Your waist,
My arm shaped it like a river when
It flowed a thousand years through your sweet body,
Lovely one.

Lovely one,
There is nothing like your hips,
Perhaps earth has
In some hidden place
The curve and the fragrance of your body,
Perhaps in some place,
Lovely one.

Lovely one, my lovely one,
Your voice, your skin, your nails,
Lovely one, my lovely one,
Your being, your light, your shadow,
Lovely one,
All that is mine, lovely one,
All that is mine, my dear,
When you walk or rest,
When you sing or sleep,
When you suffer or dream,
Always,
When you are near or far,
Always,
You are mine, my lovely one,
Always.

Pablo Neruda

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!

Wild nights – Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
Might I but moor – tonight –
In thee!

Emily Dickinson
Girl hugging man from back as he plays the violin at seaside.

Love Song

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn’t touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn’t resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin’s bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.

Rainer Maria Rilke

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

An Indian Love Song

Light o’ the lodge, how I love thee,
Light o’ the lodge, how I love thee,
Mianza, my wild-wood fawn!
To wait and to watch for thy passing.
On hill-top I linger at dawn.

Glimmer of morn, how I love thee,
Glimmer of morn, how I love thee!
My flute to the ground now I fling,
As you tread the steep trail to the spring,
For thy coming has silenced my song.

Shimmer of moon on the river,
Sheen of soft star on the lake!
Moonlight and starlight are naught;
Their gleam and their glow is ne’er fraught
With such love-light as falls from thine eyes.

Bertrand N. O. Walker

Beauty That is Never Old

When buffeted and beaten by life’s storms,
When by the bitter cares of life oppressed,
I want no surer haven than your arms,
I want no sweeter heaven than your breast.

When over my life’s way there falls the blight
Of sunless days, and nights of starless skies;
Enough for me, the calm and steadfast light
That softly shines within your loving eyes.

The world, for me, and all the world can hold
Is circled by your arms; for me there lies,
Within the lights and shadows of your eyes,
The only beauty that is never old.

James Weldon Johnson

Her Lips Are Copper Wire

whisper of yellow globes
gleaming on lamp-posts that sway
like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog

and let your breath be moist against me
like bright beads on yellow globes

telephone the power-house
that the main wires are insulate

(her words play softly up and down
dewy corridors of billboards)

then with your tongue remove the tape
and press your lips to mine
till they are incandescent

Jean Toomer

Heart We Will Forget Him

Heart, we will forget him,
You and I, tonight!
You must forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.
When you have done pray tell me,
Then I, my thoughts, will dim.
Haste! ‘lest while you’re lagging
I may remember him!

Emily Dickinson

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

In the Heart of a Rose

I will hide my soul and its mighty love
In the bosom of this rose,
And its dispensing breath will take
My love wherever it goes.

And perhaps she’ll pluck this very rose,
And, quick as blushes start,
Will breathe my hidden secret in
Her unsuspecting heart.

And there I will live in her embrace
And the realm of sweetness there,
Enamored with an ecstasy,
Of bliss beyond compare.

George Marion McClellan

Together

O, come, Love, let us take a walk,
Down the Way-of-Life together;
Storms may come, but what care we,
If be fair or foul the weather.

When the sky overhead is blue,
Balmy, scented winds will after
Us, adown the valley blow
Haunting echoes of our laughter.

When Life’s storms upon us beat
Crushing us with fury, after
All is done, there’ll ringing come
Mocking echoes of our laughter.

So we’ll walk the Way-of-Life,
You and I, Love, both together,
Storm or sunshine, happy we
If be foul or fair the weather.

Carrie Williams Clifford

I Gave Myself To Him

I gave myself to Him—
And took Himself, for Pay,
The solemn contract of a Life
Was ratified, this way—

The Wealth might disappoint—
Myself a poorer prove
Than this great Purchaser suspect,

The Daily Own—of Love

Depreciate the Vision—
But till the Merchant buy—
Still Fable—in the Isles of Spice—
The subtle Cargoes—lie—

At least—’tis Mutual—Risk—
Some—found it—Mutual Gain—
Sweet Debt of Life—Each Night to owe—

Insolvent—every Noon—

Emily Dickinson

Put Out My Eyes

Put out my eyes, and I can see you still,
Slam my ears to, and I can hear you yet;
And without any feet can go to you;
And tongueless, I can conjure you at will.
Break off my arms, I shall take hold of you
And grasp you with my heart as with a hand;
Arrest my heart, my brain will beat as true;
And if you set this brain of mine afire,
Then on my blood-stream I yet will carry you.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Couple silhouette against the beautiful sunset.

One Hundred Love Sonnets

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

Pablo Neruda

For Thee the Sun Doth Daily Rise, and Set

For thee the sun doth daily rise, and set
Behind the curtain of the hills of sleep,
And my soul, passing through the nether deep,
Broods on thy love, and never can forget.
For thee the garlands of the wood are wet,
For thee the daisies up the meadow’s sweep
Stir in the sidelong light, and for thee weep
The drooping ferns above the violet.
For thee the labour of my studious ease
I ply with hope, for thee all pleasures please,
Thy sweetness doth the bread of sorrow leaven;
And from thy noble lips and heart of gold
I drink the comfort of the faiths of old,
Any thy perfection is my proof of heaven.

George Santayana

We Two

We two are left:
I with small grace reveal
distaste and bitterness;
you with small patience
take my hands;
though effortless,
you scald their weight
as a bowl, lined with embers,
wherein droop
great petals of white rose,
forced by the heat
too soon to break.

We two are left:
as a blank wall, the world,
earth and the men who talk,
saying their space of life
is good and gracious,
with eyes blank
as that blank surface
their ignorance mistakes
for final shelter
and a resting-place.

We two remain:
yet by what miracle,
searching within the tangles of my brain,
I ask again,
have we two met within
this maze of dædal paths
in-wound mid grievous stone,
where once I stood alone?

H. D.

Silence

Silence with you is like the faint delicious
Smile of a child asleep, in dreams unguessed:
Only the hinted wonder of its dreaming,
The soft, slow-breathing miracle of rest.
Silence with you is like a kind departure
From iron clangor and the engulfing crowd
Into a wide and greenly barren meadow,
Under the bloom of some blue-bosomed cloud;
Or like one held upon the sands at evening,
When the drawn tide rolls out, and the mixed light
Of sea and sky enshrouds the far, wind-bellowed
Sails that move darkly on the edge of night.

Babette Deutsch