It’s almost that time again. Valentine’s Day is coming up and you’d like to do something a little more romantic for your beloved than the typical Hallmark greeting card. Fortunately, we here at eNotes are prepared to be your very own Cyrano. Here are some of the best love poems ever penned.
1. “She Walks In Beauty” by Lord Byron
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.
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
3. “i carry your heart with me” by e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart).
4. From The Thief of Sleep by Rumi
Suddenly the drunken sweetheart appeared out of my door.
She drank a cup of ruby wine and sat by my side.
Seeing and holding the lockets of her hair
My face became all eyes, and my eyes all hands.
5. “Gloire de Dijon” by D.H. Lawrence
When she rises in the morning
I linger to watch her;She spreads the bath-cloth underneath the windowAnd the sunbeams catch herGlistening white on the shoulders,While down her sides the mellowGolden shadow glows asShe stoops to the sponge, and her swung breastsSway like full-blownGloire de Dijon roses.She drips herself with water, and her shouldersGlisten as silver; they crumble upLike wet and falling roses, and I listenFor the sluicing of their rain-dishevelled petals.In the window full of sunlightConcentrates her golden shadowFold on fold, until it glows asMellow as the glory roses.
6. From “That Silent Evening” by Galway Kinnell
I will go back to that silent evening
when we lay together and talked in low, silent voices,
while outside slow lumps of soft snow
fell, hushing as they got near the ground,
with a fire in the room, in which centuries
of tree went up in continuous ghost-giving-up,
without a crackle, into morning light.
7. “Wild Nights” by Emily Dickinson
Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
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
To-night in thee!
8. “Sudden Light” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before,—
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar
Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.
Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?
9. “An Argument” by Thomas More
That wishing and the crime are one,
And Heaven punishes desires
As much as if the deed were done.
If wishing damns us, you and I
Are damned to all our heart’s content;
Come, then, at least we may enjoy
Some pleasure for our punishment!