Roses are red, violets are blue, greeting cards are corny, so what's a girl to do? Every year, I spend more time than you'd think was possible reading every single Valentine's Day card at the drugstore while trying to find the perfect one for my partner, but in the end, I always end up with the same thing: a handwritten Valentine's Day poem on the inside of a blank card.
As you can tell, my own poetic skills are limited to imitating basic nursery rhymes, so I usually refer to the experts when looking for the right sonnet for my sweetheart. From classic poets like Shakespeare to modern wordsmiths like Julia Cohen, there is an infinite number of romantic and unique love poems that can help those of us without the proper skill and talent express ourselves to the ones we love.
While you might think of poetry as that terrible form of writing that your high school English teacher used to torture you with, poetry is so much more than that. It's emotional and engaging, personal and touching, and, the love poems at least, are sweet, sentimental, and perfect for Valentine's Day.
Whether you need an inscription for your own card or you're just looking for something to get you in the mood for the holiday, here are 13 Valentine's Day poems so romantic, even Cupid would approve.
1. "She Walks in Beauty" — Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the nightOf cloudless climes and starry skies;And all that's best of dark and brightMeet in her aspect and her eyes:Thus mellowed to that tender lightWhich heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,Had half impaired the nameless graceWhich waves in every raven tress,Or softly lightens o'er her face;Where thoughts serenely sweet expressHow 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!
2. "You are perfect for me" — Rebecca Wolff
because you’re psychicno one else could understand methe way you
I sayDrink Me
I say it to you silentlybut it calls forth in me
the water for youthe water you asked for
3. "It's all I have to bring today (26)" — Emily Dickinson
It’s all I have to bring today—This, and my heart beside—This, and my heart, and all the fields—And all the meadows wide—Be sure you count—should I forgetSome one the sum could tell—This, and my heart, and all the BeesWhich in the Clover dwell.
4. "Valentine" — Carol Ann Duffy
Not a red rose or a satin heart.I give you an onion.It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.It promises lightlike the careful undressing of love.Here. It will blind you with tears like a lover.It will make your reflectiona wobbling photo of grief.I am trying to be truthful.Not a cute card or a kissogram.I give you an onion.Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,possessive and faithfulas we are,for as long as we are.Take it.Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,if you like.Lethal.Its scent will cling to your fingers,cling to your knife.
5. "Everything Good between Men and Women" — C. D. Wright
has been written in mud and butterand barbecue sauce. The walls andthe floors used to be gorgeous.The socks off-white and a near match.The quince with fire blightbut we get two pints of jellyin the end. Long walks strengthenthe back. You with a fever blisterand myself with a sty. Eyeshave we and we are forever preyto each other’s teeth. The torrentsgo over us. Thunder has not harmedanyone we know. The river coursingthrough us is dirty and deep. The lefthand protects the rhythm. Watchyour head. No fires should beunattended. Especially when wind. Eachreceives a free swiss army knife.The first few tongues are clearlypreparatory. The impressionmade by yours I carry to my grave. It isjust so sad so creepy so beautiful.Bless it. We have so little timeto learn, so much... The rivercourses dirty and deep. Cover the lettuce.Call it a night. O soul. Flow on. Instead.
6. "Another Valentine" — Wendy Cope
Today we are obliged to be romanticAnd think of yet another valentine.We know the rules and we are both pedantic:Today's the day we have to be romantic.Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.You know I'm yours and I know you are mine.And saying that has made me feel romantic,My dearest love, my darling valentine.
7. "Love in the Morning" — Annie Finch
Morning’s a new birdstirring against meout of a quiet nest,coming to flight—quick-changing,slow-nodding,breath-filling body,life-holding,waiting,clean as clear water,warmth-given,fire-drivenkindling companion,mystery and mountain,dark-rooted,earth-anchored.
8. "I Love You" — Sara Teasdale
When April bends above meAnd finds me fast asleep,Dust need not keep the secretA live heart died to keep. When April tells the thrushes,The meadow-larks will know,And pipe the three words lightlyTo all the winds that blow. Above his roof the swallows,In notes like far-blown rain,Will tell the little sparrowBeside his window-pane. O sparrow, little sparrow,When I am fast asleep,Then tell my love the secretThat I have died to keep.
9. "Sonnet 104: To me, fair friend, you never can be old" — William Shakespeare
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,For as you were when first your eye I eyed,Such seems your beauty still. Three winters coldHave from the forests shook three summers’ pride,Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turnedIn process of the seasons have I seen,Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burned,Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.Ah, yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived:For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
10. "The First Day" — Christina Rossetti
I wish I could remember that first day,First hour, first moment of your meeting me,If bright or dim the season, it might beSummer or Winter for aught I can say;So unrecorded did it slip away,So blind was I to see and to foresee,So dull to mark the budding of my treeThat would not blossom yet for many a May.If only I could recollect it, suchA day of days! I let it come and goAs traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;If only now I could recall that touch,First touch of hand in hand – Did one but know!
11. "Defeated by Love" — Rumi
The sky was litby the splendor of the moonSo powerfulI fell to the ground Your lovehas made me sure I am ready to forsakethis worldly lifeand surrenderto the magnificenceof your Being
12. "somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond" — E. E. Cummings
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyondany experience,your eyes have their silence:in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,or which i cannot touch because they are too nearyour slightest look will easily unclose methough i have closed myself as fingers,you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first roseor if your wish be to close me, i andmy life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,as when the heart of this flower imaginesthe snow carefully everywhere descending;nothing which we are to perceive in this world equalsthe power of your intense fragility:whose texturecompels me with the color of its countries,rendering death and forever with each breathing(i do not know what it is about you that closesand opens;only something in me understandsthe voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
13. "The Good-Morrow" — John Donne
I wonder, by my troth, what thou and IDid, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.If ever any beauty I did see,Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,Which watch not one another out of fear;For love, all love of other sights controls,And makes one little room an everywhere.Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;Where can we find two better hemispheres,Without sharp north, without declining west?Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;If our two loves be one, or, thou and ILove so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.
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