From music and fashion to political action, there are a million ways to express your LGBTQ pride, whether it's officially Pride month or not. But this June, when you need some down time from the parades, rallies, and dance parties, take a moment to relax and reflect on these LGBTQ poem quotes.
Since the first couplet was recorded on paper, poetry has been an artistic expression for millions of writers around the world who use the form to share their thoughts, emotions, political views, and more. Wilfred Owen used his poetry to show his opposition to war and violence, Langston Hughes' poetry raised awareness for issues facing the black community, and Anne Sexton's sought to change the minds of anti-feminists everywhere. For decades, LGBTQ poets, from A.E. Housman and Allen Ginsberg to Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich, have been writing about identity, love, sex, heartache, injustice, and everything else that comes along with the LGBTQ experience. Their work, and the work of poets like them, have helped readers everywhere better see, understand, and empathize with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer experience. It has also helped readers find and celebrate their own pride.
In honor of Pride month, here are 11 LGBTQ poem quotes that celebrate every color of the rainbow flag.
1. "Live Oak, with Moss" — Walt Whitman
"Sullen and suffering hours! (I am ashamed — but it isuseless — I am what I am;)Hours of my torment — I wonder if other men ever havethe like, out of the like feelings?Is there even one other like me—distracted—his friend,his lover, lost to him?"
2. "Until We Could" — Richard Blanco
"I do, I do and will and will for those who still can’tvow it yet, but know love’s exact reason as muchas they know how a sail keeps the wind withoutbreaking, or how roots dig a way into the earth,or how the stars open their eyes to the night, orhow a vine becomes one with the wall it loves, orhow, when I hold you, you are rain in my hands."
3. "Slicing Limes for Dustin" — Stephen S. Mills
"And what does it mean to becomea housewife voluntarily?To slice limes for a husband?Limes for Dustin?And what does it mean to be marriedyet remain queer?Remain two men in love?Bonded together?What does it mean?"
4. "I Do" — Andrea Gibson
"For fifty years, we feathered wings too wide to be prey and we flew through days strong and through days fragile as sand-castles at high tide and you would fold your love into an origami firefly and you’d throw it through my passageways until all my hidden chambers were filled with lanterns, now, every trap door, every pore of my heart is open because of you — because of us — so I do, I do, I do want to be in that room with you. When visiting hours are for family members only, I want to know they’ll let me in. I want to know they’ll let me hold you while I sing, “ba be de bop de ba ba, baby I’m so in love with you. I’m so in love with you. Ba be de bop de ba bop be be da bop ba — goodbye."
"But we already are exactly who we are supposed to be.And just this summer I woke up in a city where I could actually get married one day.And I think back to that wedding in Jersey.How I was the last one to leave the dance floor,Makeup smeared and beaming.How my grandmother grabbed my hand as I walked by and saidHey I'm proud of youWith no buts or if onlys clinging to the underside of her voice.And now finally, all these years laterI'm able to say the same thing to myself."
6. "Whom You Love" — Joseph O. Legaspi
"He knows I don’t need saving & rescues me anyhowOur often-misunderstood kind of love is dangerousDarling, fill my cup; the bird has come to roost"
7. "My Lover Is a Woman" — Pat Parker
"my lover is a woman& when i hold herfeel her warmthi feel goodfeel safe"
8. "Movement Song" — Audre Lorde
"Do not remember meas disasternor as the keeper of secretsI am a fellow rider in the cattle carswatchingyou move slowly out of my bedsaying we cannot waste timeonly ourselves."
9. "I Needed Your Body Near Mine" — Timothy Liu
"An ocean is nothing, there is no separationbetween two lovers."
10. "Lullaby" — W.H. Auden
"Beauty, midnight, vision dies:Let the winds of dawn that blowSoftly round your dreaming headSuch a day of welcome showEye and knocking heart may bless,Find the mortal world enough;Noons of dryness find you fedBy the involuntary powers,Nights of insult let you passWatched by every human love."
11. "Poem About My Rights" — June Jordan
"I am not wrong: Wrong is not my nameMy name is my own my own my ownand I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like thisbut I can tell you that from now on my resistancemy simple and daily and nightly self-determinationmay very well cost you your life"