If you're not feeling the Valentine's Day love just yet, perhaps you just need to read a few love poems to get you in the mood for the romantic holiday. Unfortunately, some of the love poems listed here might be hard to fit on a Valentine's Day card. However, you might find a few choice lines to help you express your sentiments for your sweetie. Or you can just read the romantic poetry and dream of finding a special someone who has such a wonderful way with words.
1. "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron
This is one of the best love poems about love for a woman. Here's an example of its many lovely lines: "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." Who doesn't want their lover to describe them in such a swoon-worthy way? Le sigh. It's such a shame that the art of poetry just isn't what it used to be.
2. "when You Are Old" by William Butler Yeats
The lines in the last poem were all about outer beauty, but this poem is about loving someone long after they've lost their good looks. The poem starts out with the narrator telling an old woman to revisit her younger days and remember the one man who didn't just love her for her beauty. These lines describe his lasting love: "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." Sadly, the last lines reveal that he and his love didn't get to spend their lives together. Unfortunately, romance and tragedy often walk hand-in-hand.
3. "Wild Nights! Wild Nights!" by Emily Dickinson
If you're looking for a love poem that packs a lot of passion, you should definitely check this one out. It's a short but sweet ode to that feeling of fervor often experienced at the beginning of a love affair. It begins with these words: "Wild nights - Wild nights! / Were I with thee / Wild nights should be / Our luxury!" Can't you just feel the intense longing in that terse verse? It ends with these words: "Rowing in Eden— / Ah, the Sea! / Might I but moor—Tonight— / In Thee!" Now that almost sounds a bit dirty, doesn't it?
4. "a Line-Storm Song" by Robert Frost
Is there anything more romantic than rain? Just think of how many times movies have used it to make kissing scenes a little sexier. Here are some of this poem's lovely lines about the wonderful weather phenomenon: "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 imagery in this poem is absolutely amazing—it makes you feel like you're walking in the "wet woods" watching "the line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift." I also love these lines: "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."
5. "How do I Love Thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
You can't have a list of love poems without this well-known classic. It might be hard to count the ways that you love someone, but Browning tries. Her popular poem begins with these words: "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." It just feels like Browning is pouring her heart out onto the page. I really love this line: "I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!"
6. "[i Carry Your Heart with Me(i Carry It in]" by E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings is the perfect poet for the age of texting—he obviously wasn't a fan of capitalization. He also gets crazy with punctuation, and this makes his poems stand out from the rest. Here are a few lines from this one: "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)." If you can get past all the parentheses, you'll see a very sweet message. I like the next lines better, however. They read: "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."
7. "Sonnet 18" by William Shakespeare
Of course I had to include a few words from this master of romance! You've probably heard the beginning of this one. It starts with the lines: "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." This poem that began with such bright imagery gets a little dark when it delves into death, but its message is very romantic. It ends with these lines: "But thy eternal summer shall not fade / Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st / Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st 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." He's saying that his love will live on through his words.
There are so many great love poems out there that it was very difficult to choose just a handful for this list. Hopefully these works of art / fill your heart / and help you find something to say / to the one you love on Valentine's Day. Do you have any favorite love poems?