Last week we put up a love poetry display at work, and if you look carefully at the photo I bet you can pick up most of the poets we chose, if not the specific poems themselves.
Unfortunately we don’t carry some of the poets who’ve written my favorite love poems, so I thought I’d post a few of them here. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Let the world’s sharpness like a clasping knife
Shut in upon itself and do no harm
In this close hand of Love, now soft and warm,
And let us hear no sound of human strife
After the click of the shutting. Life to life –
I lean upon thee, Dear, without alarm,
And feel as safe as guarded by a charm
Against the stab of worldlings, who if rife
Are weak to injure. Very whitely still
The lilies of our lives may reassure
Their blossoms from their roots, accessible
Alone to heavenly dews that drop not fewer;
Growing straight, out of man’s reach, on the hill.
God only, who made us rich, can make us poor.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese (which I think may be my favorite collection of love poetry).
I found this poem via Threlkelded last National Poetry Month:
My clumsiest dear, whose hands shipwreck vases,
At whose quick touch all glasses chip and ring,
Whose palms are bulls in china, burs in linen,
And have no cunning with any soft thing
Except all ill-at-ease fidgeting people:
The refugee uncertain at the door
You make at home; deftly you steady
The drunk clambering on his undulant floor.
Unpredictable dear, the taxi drivers’ terror,
Shrinking from far headlights pale as a dime
Yet leaping before apopleptic streetcars—
Misfit in any space. And never on time.
A wrench in clocks and the solar system. Only
With words and people and love you move at ease;
In traffic of wit expertly maneuver
And keep us, all devotion, at your knees.
Forgetting your coffee spreading on our flannel,
Your lipstick grinning on our coat,
So gaily in love’s unbreakable heaven
Our souls on glory of spilt bourbon float.
Be with me, darling, early and late. Smash glasses—
I will study wry music for your sake.
For should your hands drop white and empty
All the toys of the world would break.
~ John Frederick Nims
I also really love Anne Bradstreet’s “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” Poe’s “Annabel Lee” (Yes, I know this poem is kind of creepy, but–“I was a child and she was a child,/ In this kingdom by the sea:/ But we loved with a love that was more than love–/I and my Annabel Lee”–AH! I love it.), Christina Rossetti’s love poems, and this poem, by Wendy Cope:
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange–
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave–
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time left over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
~ Wendy Cope