If you're struggling with what exactly you should write in that Valentine's Day card to your significant other, some romantic Valentine's Day poems should do the trick. It's easy to think that poetry is a dying art. After all, it sounds like something that was only popular way back in the day. But, in fact, poetry is still alive and well. And, whether you want to express your love with a classic limerick or use a more modern verse to share your feelings, poetry is always a suitable choice — particularly on a holiday as romantic as Valentine's Day.
I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who has a really tough time coming up with a heartfelt, romantic sentiment to write in cards to my husband. I want something that truly captures how amazing I think he is — and how much I appreciate the fact that he always takes the dog out in ridiculously frigid weather. But, on that same token, I don't want it to be so unbearably cheesy that he ends up feeling uncomfortable. So, what do I usually end up with? Something simple like, "I love you!" with a little heart next to my name. Creative, right?
Well, this year, I'm stepping up my game. These romantic verses and excerpts from poems make for the perfect thing to scribble inside that mushy Valentine's Day card. My husband better be prepared for this love-fest.
1. "How Do I Love Thee" — Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the waysI love thee to the depth and breadth and heightMy soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.For the ends of Being and ideal GraceI love thee to the level of everyday’sMost quiet need, by sun and candlelight.I love thee freely, as men strive for rightI love thee purely, as they turn from praiseI love thee with the passion put to useIn my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.I love thee with a love I seemed to loseWith 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.
2. "A Red, Red Rose" — Robert Burns
O my luve’s like a red, red rose.That’s newly sprung in June;O my luve’s like a melodieThat’s sweetly play’d in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,So deep in luve am I;And I will love thee still, my Dear,Till a’the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear,And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:I will luve thee still, my Dear,While the sands o’life shall run.
And fare thee weel my only Luve!And fare thee weel a while!And I will come again, my Luve,Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!
3. "First Love" — John Clare
I ne’er was struck before that hourWith love so sudden and so sweet.Her face it bloomed like a sweet flowerAnd stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale, a deadly pale.My legs refused to walk away,And when she looked what could I ailMy life and all seemed turned to clay.
And then my blood rushed to my faceAnd took my eyesight quite away.The trees and bushes round the placeSeemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,Words from my eyes did start.They spoke as chords do from the string,And blood burnt round my heart.
Are flowers the winter’s choiceIs love’s bed always snowShe seemed to hear my silent voiceNot love appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a faceAs that I stood before.My heart has left its dwelling placeAnd can return no more.
4. "i carry your heart with me" — e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it inmy heart) i am never without it (anywherei go you go, my dear; and whatever is doneby only me is your doing, my darling)i fearno fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i wantno world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meantand 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 budand the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which growshigher than 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)
5. "Syntax" — Maureen N. McLane
and ifI were to say
I love you andI do love you
and I say it now and again
and againwould you say
parataxiswould you see
the world revolvesanew
6. "To Dorothy" — Marvin Bell
You are not beautiful, exactly.You are beautiful, inexactly.You let a weed grow by the mulberryand a mulberry grow by the house.So close, in the personal quietof a windy night, it brushes the walland sweeps away the day till we sleep.
A child said it, and it seemed true:“Things that are lost are all equal.”But it isn’t true. If I lost you,the air wouldn’t move, nor the tree grow.Someone would pull the weed, my flower.The quiet wouldn’t be yours. If I lost you,I’d have to ask the grass to let me sleep.
7. "Wondrous Moment" — Alexander Pushkin
The wondrous moment of our meeting . . .I well remember you appearBefore me like a vision fleeting,A beauty’s angel pure and clear.
In hopeless ennui surroundingThe worldly bustle, to my earFor long your tender voice kept sounding,For long in dreams came features dear.
Time passed. Unruly storms confoundedOld dreams, and I from year to yearForgot how tender you had sounded,Your heavenly features once so dear.
My backwoods days dragged slow and quiet —Dull fence around, dark vault above —Devoid of God and uninspired,Devoid of tears, of fire, of love.
Sleep from my soul began retreating,And here you once again appearBefore me like a vision fleeting,A beauty’s angel pure and clear.
In ecstasy the heart is beating,Old joys for it anew revive;Inspired and God-filled, it is greetingThe fire, and tears, and love alive.
8. "Rime Riche" — Monica Ferrell
You need me like ice needs the mountainOn which it breeds. Like print needs the page.You move in me like the tongue in a mouth,Like wind in the leaves of summer trees,Gust-fists, hollow except for movement and desireWhich is movement. You taste me the way the clawsOf a pigeon taste that window-ledge on which it sits,The way water tastes rust in the pipes it shuttles throughBeneath a city, unfolding and luminous with industry.Before you were born, the table of elementsWas lacking, and I as a noble gas floatedFree of attachment. Before you were born,The sun and the moon were paper-thin platesSome machinist at his desk merely clicked into place.
9. "Love Not Me for Comely Grace" — John Wilbye
Love not me for comely grace,For my pleasing eye or face,
Nor for any outward part:No, nor for a constant heart!For these may fail or turn to ill:Should thou and I sever.
Keep, therefore, a true woman’s eye,And love me still, but know not why!So hast thou the same reason stillTo dote upon me ever.
10. "At Last" — Elizabeth Akers Allen
I count no more my wasted tears;They left no echo of their fall;I mourn no more my lonesome years;This blessed hour atones for all.I fear not all that Time or FateMay bring to burden heart or brow,—Strong in the love that came so late,Our souls should keep it always now!
Images: Pexels (7); Dale, Yoel Ben-Avraham, Boris SV, Aaron Guy Leroux/Flickr