Here’s a selection of several of my favorite love poems for Valentine’s Day.
1. “Modern Love” by John Keats
Of course, with love poems, we have to include Keats. This one I’ve only read for the first time recently, but I’ve found it very interesting.
And what is love? It is a doll dress’d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long,
Till Miss’s comb is made a pearl tiara,
And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots;
Then Cleopatra lives at number seven,
And Antony resides in Brunswick Square.
Fools! if some passions high have warm’d the world,
If Queens and Soldiers have play’d deep for hearts,
It is no reason why such agonies
Should be more common than the growth of weeds.
Fools! make me whole again that weighty pearl
The Queen of Egypt melted, and I’ll say
That ye may love in spite of beaver hats.
2. “Love Comes Quietly” by Robert Creeley
This one is more contemporary and less well-known, though you may have heard of it before. It’s short, sweet, and to the point — very frill-less.
Love comes quietly,
about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
3. “The City is Peopled” by H.D.
I don’t know why, but I really like H.D. Her poem seems more anticipatory, though that might be what you’re after this Valentine’s day.
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.
4. “The White Rose” by John Boyle O’Reilly
O’Reilly’s poem is really neat and has a sort of amusing, though perhaps a little salacious, twist to it.
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.
5. “She Walks in Beauty” by George Gordon Byron
Of course we’ve gotta have one of these ones.
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!