14 Love Poems For Valentine's Day

by Dina Gachman

There’s still a dried up Christmas tree on the curb down the street from my house and the neighbors just took their stuffed Santa and reindeer down last week, but despite all that, Valentine’s Day is upon us.

February 14 is all about love. And flowers. And chocolates. And fancy dinners at crowded restaurants. If you’re feeling cynical, it’s “a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap,” as they say in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind . If you’re madly in love or just feeling hopeful, it’s a day to celebrate Eros and amour. There’s no law that says you can’t get yourself some tulips on Valentine’s Day, either. It’s a thoughtful gesture that I highly recommend.

Melodramatic love odes aren’t really in fashion anymore, but that doesn’t mean romance is dead. There are plenty of love poems about loss, longing, and devotion to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day, whether you’re happily single or attached. Some of them are sappy, some are tongue-in-cheek, and some might just make you laugh.

Here’s a look at 14 pieces of poetry from writers like Margaret Atwood, Billy Collins, Langston Hughes, Neko Case, and Pablo Neruda (the godfather of love poetry) to amp up the passion this Valentine's Day.

Neko Case

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts

—"Middle Cyclone"

Pablo Neruda

But I love your feet only because they walked upon the earth and upon the wind and upon the waters, until they found me.

—"Your Feet"

Langston Hughes

Out of love, No regrets— Though the goodness Be wasted forever. Out of love, No regrets— Though the return Be never.

—"No Regrets"

Louise Glück

They sat far apart deliberately, to experience, daily, the sweetness of seeing each other across great distance.

—"The Rouse"

Edna St. Vincent Millay

After all my erstwhile dear, My no longer cherished; Need we say it was not love, Now that love is perished?

—"Passer Mortuus Est"

W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me Like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.


Elizabeth Bishop

Close, close all night the lovers keep. They turn together in their sleep, Close as two pages in a book that read each other in the dark. Each knows all the other knows, learned by heart from head to toes.

—from Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box

Frank O’Hara

oh god it’s wonderful to get out of bed and drink too much coffee and smoke too many cigarettes and love you so much


E.E. Cummings

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that'skeeping the stars apart i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

—"[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]"

Sandra Cisneros

Maybe in this season, drunk and sentimental, I’m willing to admit a part of me, crazed and kamikaze, ripe for anarchy, loves still.

—"One Last Poem For Richard"

Billy Collins

You are so beautiful and I am a fool to be in love with you is a theme that keeps coming up in songs and poems. There seems to be no room for variation. I have never heard anyone sing I am so beautiful and you are a fool to be in love with me, even though this notion has surely crossed the minds of women and men alike.


Katharine Kilalea

That night we were drinking, and the chimneys were smoking, and my lips were growing big as bread baked in the oven. I met London in your face, and I smelt wine on your breath and the shape of your mouth left me feeling slightly lyrical. We drank a lot that night

—"You were a bird"

Margaret Atwood

It's not love we don't wish to fall into, but that fear. this word is not enough but it will have to do. It's a single vowel in this metallic silence, a mouth that says O again and again in wonder and pain, a breath, a finger grip on a cliffside. You can hold on or let go.

—"Variations on the Word Love"

Fernando Pessoa

All love letters are Ridiculous. They wouldn't be love letters if they weren't Ridiculous. In my time I also wrote love letters Equally, inevitably Ridiculous. Love letters, if there's love Must be Ridiculous. But in fact Only those who've never written Love letters Are Ridiculous. If only I could go back To when I wrote love letters Without thinking how Ridiculous. The truth is that today My memories Of those love letters Are what is Ridiculous. (All more-than-three-syllable words, Along with unaccountable feelings, Are naturally


—"All Love Letters Are"

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