25 Best Love Poems

Don’t let modern love fool you. There is still much whimsy and joy to be found by falling in love. In this day and age, when you can’t find the perfect song lyrics that capture how you feel, read a poem. For years poets have encapsulated the essence of love in words that send visceral feelings down our spines.

Give this gift to your partner by finding the best love poems for him or her in our list below.

 

Love Poems: 25 of the Most Romantic Poems about Love

 

1. I cannot live with You – 
It would be Life – 
And Life is over there – 
Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to – 
Putting up
Our Life – His Porcelain – 
Like a Cup – 

Discarded of the Housewife – 
Quaint – or Broke – 
A newer Sevres pleases – 
Old Ones crack – 

I could not die – with You – 
For One must wait
To shut the Other’s Gaze down – 
You – could not – 

And I – could I stand by
And see You – freeze – 
Without my Right of Frost – 
Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise – with You – 
Because Your Face
Would put out Jesus’ – 
That New Grace

Glow plain – and foreign
On my homesick Eye – 
Except that You than He
Shone closer by – 

They’d judge Us – How – 
For You – served Heaven – You know,
Or sought to – 
I could not – 

Because You saturated Sight – 
And I had no more Eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise

And were You lost, I would be – 
Though My Name
Rang loudest
On the Heavenly fame – 

And were You – saved – 
And I – condemned to be
Where You were not – 
That self – were Hell to Me – 

So We must meet apart – 
You there – I – here – 
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are – and Prayer – 
And that White Sustenance – 
Despair – 

 – Emily Dickinson

 

2. Love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

 – E.E. Cummings

 

3. Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

– W. H. Auden

 

4. All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
     And feed his sacred flame.

Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o’er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
     Beside the ruin’d tower.

The moonshine, stealing o’er the scene,
Had blended with the lights of eve;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
     My own dear Genevieve!

She lean’d against the armèd man,
The statue of the armèd Knight;
She stood and listen’d to my lay,
     Amid the lingering light.

Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope! my joy! my Genevieve!
She loves me best whene’er I sing
     The songs that make her grieve.

I play’d a soft and doleful air;
I sang an old and moving story—
An old rude song, that suited well
     That ruin wild and hoary.

She listen’d with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace;
For well she knew I could not choose
     But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand;
And that for ten long years he woo’d
     The Lady of the Land.

I told her how he pined: and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another’s love,
     Interpreted my own.

She listen’d with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace;
And she forgave me, that I gazed
     Too fondly on her face!

But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he cross’d the mountain-woods,
     Nor rested day nor night;

That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
     In green and sunny glade—

There came and look’d him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
     This miserable Knight!

And that, unknowing what he did,
He leap’d amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
     The Lady of the Land;—

And how she wept and clasp’d his knees;
And how she tended him in vain—
And ever strove to expiate
     The scorn that crazed his brain;—

And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest leaves
     A dying man he lay;—

His dying words—but when I reach’d
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faltering voice and pausing harp
     Disturb’d her soul with pity!

All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrill’d my guileless Genevieve;
The music and the doleful tale,
     The rich and balmy eve;

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
     Subdued and cherish’d long!

She wept with pity and delight,
She blush’d with love and virgin shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,
     I heard her breathe my name.

Her bosom heaved—she stepp’d aside,
As conscious of my look she stept—
Then suddenly, with timorous eye
     She fled to me and wept.

She half enclosed me with her arms,
She press’d me with a meek embrace;
And bending back her head, look’d up,
     And gazed upon my face.

‘Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly ’twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,
     The swelling of her heart.

I calm’d her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride;
And so I won my Genevieve,
     My bright and beauteous Bride.

– Samual Taylor Coleridge

— 5th of 25 Poems About Love

5. My Love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne’r have flown
But vainly flapt its Tinsel Wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended Soul is fixt,
But Fate does Iron wedges drive,
And alwaies crowds it self betwixt.

For Fate with jealous Eye does see
Two perfect Loves; nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruine be,
And her Tyrannick pow’er depose.

And therefore her Decrees of Steel
Us as the distant Poles have plac’d,
(Though Love’s whole World on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac’d.

Unless the giddy Heaven fall,
And Earth some new Convulsion tear;
And, us to joyn, the World should all
Be cramp’d into a Planisphere.

As Lines so Loves oblique may well
Themselves in every Angle greet:
But ours so truly Parallel,
Though infinite can never meet.                                                    

Therefore the Love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debarrs,
Is the Conjunction of the Mind,
And Opposition of the Stars.

-Andrew Marvell

 

6. What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.

What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

Jalal al-Din Rumi

 

7. We cannot live, except thus mutually
We alternate, aware or unaware,
The reflex act of life: and when we bear
Our virtue onward most impulsively,
Most full of invocation, and to be
Most instantly compellant, certes, there
We live most life, whoever breathes most air
And counts his dying years by sun and sea.
But when a soul, by choice and conscience, doth
Throw out her full force on another soul,
The conscience and the concentration both make
mere life, Love. For Life in perfect whole
And aim consummated, is Love in sooth,
As nature’s magnet-heat rounds pole with pole.

-Elizabeth Barret Browning

Also Check: Love Poems for Her | Love Poems for Him | Short Love Poems

 

8. Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or come when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it to rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.

– Paul Dunbar

 

9. I will make you brooches and toys for your delight

Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall a night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

 

— 10th of 25 Love Poems

10. Things happen when you drink too much mescal.

One night, with not enough food in my belly,
he kept on buying.   I’m a girl who’ll fall
damn near in love with gratitude and, well, he
was hot and generous and so the least
that I could do was let him kiss me, hard
and soft and any way you want it, beast
and beauty, lime and salt—sweet Bacchus’ pards—
and when his friend showed up I felt so warm
and generous I let him kiss me too.
His buddy asked me if it was the worm
inside that makes me do the things I do.
I wasn’t sure which worm he meant, the one
I ate?   The one that eats at me alone?

– Moira Egan

 

11. Romance, who loves to nod and sing,

With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been—a most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say—
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.
Of late, eternal Condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings—
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things!
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.

-Edgar Allen Poe

 

12. Oh! for the welcome breath of country air, 
   With Summer skies and flowers, 
To shout and feel once more the halcyon 
   Of gayer boyhood hours.
I think the sight of fields and shady lanes
   Would ease my heart of pains. 

To cool once more my thirst, where bubbled up
    The waters of a spring,
Where I have seen the golden daffodils
    And lillies flourishing,
My fevered heart would more than half forget
    Its sighs, and vain regret. 

Far, far away, from early scenes am I;
   And, too, my youth has fled;
For me a stranger’s land, a stranger’s sky,
   That arches overhead.
For scenes and joys that now have passed me by,
   I can but give a sigh. 

– George Marion Mclellan

 

13. Easy light storms in through the window, soft
            edges of the world, smudged by mist, a squirrel’s 

            nest rigged high in the maple. I’ve got a bone 
to pick with whomever is in charge. All year, 

I’ve said, You know what’s funny? and then,
            Nothing, nothing is funny. Which makes me laugh

            in an oblivion-is-coming sort of way. A friend
writes the word lover in a note and I am strangely

excited for the word lover to come back. Come back
            lover, come back to the five and dime. I could 

            squeal with the idea of blissful release, oh lover,
what a word, what a world, this gray waiting. In me,

a need to nestle deep into the safe-keeping of sky.
            I am too used to nostalgia now, a sweet escape

            of age. Centuries of pleasure before us and after
us, still right now, a softness like the worn fabric of a nightshirt

and what I do not say is, I trust the world to come back.
            Return like a word, long forgotten and maligned 

            for all its gross tenderness, a joke told in a sun beam,
the world walking in, ready to be ravaged, open for business.

– Ada Limon

 

14. One night a guy & a girl were
driving home from the movies. The
boy sensed there was
something wrong because of the painful
silence they shared between them
that night. The girl then asked the boy to pull over
because she wanted to talk. She told him that her
feelings had changed & that it was time to move on.
A silent tear slid down his cheek as he
slowly reached into his pocket & passed her a folded note.
At that moment, a drunk driver was speeding down
that very same street. He swerved
right into the drivers seat, killing the boy.
Miraculously, the girl survived. Remembering the note, she
pulled it out & read it.
“Without your love, I would die.”

– Le-Rita Clark

 

— 15th of 25 Love Poems

15. Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,

are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.

Every year
everything
I have ever learned
in my lifetime

leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,

whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
Go,
to let it go.

– Mary Oliver

 

16. Guy calls the doctor, says the wife’s   

contractions are five minutes apart.   
Doctor says, Is this her first child?
guy says, No, it’s her husband.

I promise to try to remember who   
I am. Wife gets up on one elbow,

says, I wanted to get married.   
It seemed a fulfillment of some

several things, a thing to be done.   
Even the diamond ring was some

thing like a quest, a thing they   
set you out to get and how insane

the quest is; how you have to turn   
it every way before you can even

think to seek it; this metaphysical   
refraining is in fact the quest. Who’d

have guessed? She sighs, I like   
the predictability of two, I like

my pleasures fully expected,   
when the expectation of them

grows patterned in its steady   
surprise. I’ve got my sweet

and tumble pat. Here on earth,   
I like to count upon a thing

like that. Thus explained   
the woman in contractions

to her lover holding on
the telephone for the doctor

to recover from this strange   
conversational turn. You say

you’re whom? It is a pleasure   
to meet you. She rolls her

eyes, but he’d once asked her   
Am I your first lover? and she’d   
said, Could be. Your face looks   
familiar. It’s the same type of

generative error. The grammar
of the spoken word will flip, let alone

the written, until something new is   
in us, and in our conversation.

– Jennifer Michael Hecht

 

17. My love,
you are water upon water
upon water until it turns
azure, mountainous.

The horizon fills like sand
between glass marbles. So much
has passed between us—

last night you told me
to press your hand
harder and harder as I pained.

The sunset was at its last
embers. The dark was stealing
the blue light from our room.

I was falling into you.

Adeeba Shahid Talukder

 

18. I lie here thinking of you:—

the stain of love
is upon the world!
Yellow, yellow, yellow
it eats into the leaves,
smears with saffron
the horned branches that lean
heavily
against a smooth purple sky!
There is no light
only a honey-thick stain
that drips from leaf to leaf
and limb to limb
spoiling the colors
of the whole world—

you far off there under
the wine-red selvage of the west!

– William Carol Williams

 

19. There is a Smile of Love 

And there is a Smile of Deceit 
And there is a Smile of Smiles
In which these two Smiles meet 

And there is a Frown of Hate 
And there is a Frown of disdain 
And there is a Frown of Frowns
Which you strive to forget in vain 

For it sticks in the Hearts deep Core 
And it sticks in the deep Back bone 
And no Smile that ever was smild 
But only one Smile alone

That betwixt the Cradle & Grave
It only once Smild can be 
But when it once is Smild 
Theres an end to all Misery 

– William Blake

— 20th of 25 Love Poems

20.  You’re doing a crossword.
I’m working on a puzzle.
Do you love me enough?
What’s the missing word?
Do I love you enough?
Where’s the missing piece?
Yesterday I was cross with you.
You weren’t paying enough attention.
You were cross with me.
I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Our words crossed.
Where are the missing pieces?
What are the missing words?
Yet last night we fit together like words in a crossword.
Pieces of a puzzle.

-Lloyd Schwartz

 

21. The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!

Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer breast,
Warm breath, light whisper, tender semi-tone,
Bright eyes, accomplish’d shape, and lang’rous waist!
Faded the flower and all its budded charms,
Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes,
Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,
Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise –
Vanish’d unseasonably at shut of eve,
When the dusk holiday – or holinight
Of fragrant-curtain’d love begins to weave
The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight,
But, as I’ve read love’s missal through to-day,
He’ll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.

– John Keats

 

22. is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

 I look at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
                               it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it

-Frank O-Hara

 

23. I shall never have any fear of love, 
Not of its depth nor its uttermost height,
Its exquisite pain and its terrible delight.
I shall never have any fear of love.

I shall never hesitate to go down
Into the fastness of its abyss
Nor shrink from the cruelty of its awful kiss.
I shall never have any fear of love.

Never shall I dread love’s strength
Nor any pain it might give.
Through all the years I may live
I shall never have any fear of love.

I shall never draw back from love
Through fear of its vast pain
But build joy of it and count it again.
I shall never have any fear of love.

I shall never tremble nor flinch
From love’s moulding touch:
I have loved too terribly and too much
Ever to have any fear of love.

-Elsa Gidlow

 

24. When buffeted and beaten by life’s storms,
When by the bitter cares of life oppressed,
I want no surer haven than your arms,
I want no sweeter heaven than your breast.

When over my life’s way there falls the blight
Of sunless days, and nights of starless skies;
Enough for me, the calm and steadfast light
That softly shines within your loving eyes.

The world, for me, and all the world can hold
Is circled by your arms; for me there lies,
Within the lights and shadows of your eyes,
The only beauty that is never old.

-James Wheldon Johnson

— 25th of 25 Love Poems

25. The light retreats and is generous again.
No you to speak of, anywhere—neither in vicinity nor distance, 

so I look at the blue water, the snowy egret, the lace of its feathers 
shaking in the wind, the lake—no, I am lying. 

There are no egrets here, no water. Most of the time, 
my mind gnaws on such ridiculous fictions. 

My phone notes littered with lines like Beauty will not save you
Or: mouthwash, yogurt, cilantro

A hummingbird zips past me, its luminescent plumage 
disturbing my vision like a tiny dorsal fin. 

But what I want does not appear. Instead, I find the redwoods and pines, 
figs that have fallen and burst open on the pavement, 

announcing that sickly sweet smell,
the sweetness of grief, my prayer for what is gone. 

You are so dramatic, I say to the reflection on my phone, 
then order the collected novels of Jean Rhys. 

She, too, was humiliated by her body, that it wanted
such stupid, simple things: food and cherry wine, to touch someone. 

On my daily walk, I steal Meyer lemons from my neighbors’ yard, 
a small pomegranate. Instead of eating them, 

I observe their casual rot on the kitchen counter, 
this theatre of good things turning into something else.

– Aris Aber

 
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Whitney Carnes
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