Famous Love Poems

Famous Love Poems

Classic Love Poems by Famous Poets

From the first prick of Cupid's arrow to the bitterness of heartbreak, poets throughout the ages have written on the mysteries of love. Their rhymes and allegories help us to better understand our emotions and sort the many ups and downs of love. Whether a simple crush or years of marriage, poetry throughout the centuries has helped express and illuminate the difficult sentiments of the heart. Turning to poetry can help us to put words to the passions and excitements that love inflames within us and to direct that fire to the forging and melding of two hearts together.

23 of the Best Famous Love Poems

  1. 1. When I Die I Want Your Hands On My Eyes

    In this poem, the speaker talks about wanting his spouse to remember him after he passes, but he doesn’t want her to mourn his loss so much that she doesn’t continue living her life. Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who lived from 1904-1973, and his first wife did not speak his native language of Spanish. This poem is made up of quatrains (four-line poems) and tercets (three-line poems).

    When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
    I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
    to pass their freshness over me one more time
    to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

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    While I feel the love that he has for his beloved, I find the last sentence of the last stanza of the poem physically difficult to read. It just feels awkward. It is very touching and...

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  3. 2. [i Carry Your Heart With Me(i Carry It In]

    Edward Estlin Cummings (1894 - 1962) was a famous American Poet with an unusual style of writing. His name is frequently written in lowercase, e.e. cummings, and his poetry is probably best known for his unorthodox usage of both capitalization and punctuation, in which unexpected and seemingly misplaced punctuation sometimes interrupt sentences and even individual words.

    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)

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    I just heard this today and love, love, love this poem. I am not really a reader, especially poetry, though I do enjoy both and lived through that lens growing up. But I wouldn't generally be...

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  5. 3. One Hundred Love Sonnets

    Many of Pablo Neruda’s love poems helped him get known as an important Chilean poet. In this poem, he can’t fully explain his love, but he feels it deeply. It’s not one of show. Instead, it’s a love that’s simple and humble, a love that sees the beauty hidden within a person. The repetition of “I love you” brings attention to the poet’s desire to convey his feelings for the subject of this poem.

    I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
    or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
    I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
    secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

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    This poem touched my heart in ways that I didn't even know was possible. I never thought I would be able to understand my own heart as well as I do now. This poem completely captures the way...

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  6. 4. Love's Language

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 - 1919) was an American author and poet. Her best-known work was Poems of Passion. Her most enduring work was "Solitude", which contains the lines: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone". Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death.

    How does Love speak?
    In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
    And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
    The quivering lid of an averted eye--

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    Beautiful, with lots of emotion by way of description. I think of the French poet Edmond Rostand's character Cyrano de Bergerac and the Russian playwright Anton Chekov, two very unique...

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  7. 5. If You Forget Me

    This poem was written while Pablo Neruda was in exile from Chile, during which time he was also having an affair with Matilde Urrutia, the woman who would become his third wife. It is presumed the poem was written with Matilde in mind, perhaps while she was in his presence. This poem shows how when an individual consumes your thoughts, everything you see, hear, touch, or experience reminds you of that person. It also shows that love can only last when a relationship is cared for and not ignored. As soon as one person does not see it as important, the relationship begins to wither.

    I want you to know
    one thing.

    You know how this is:

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    Once during the elective courses I teach - visualisation of poems by different poets- one of my students made a video artwork with her own drawings, illustrating this poem. It is one of the...

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  8. 6. I Love You

    Ella Wheeler was born in 1850 on a farm in Wisconsin, the youngest of four children. She wrote numerous poems starting when she was 7 years old. During her life, Wilcox received many rejection letters before a publisher gave her books of poetry a chance. Despite these rejections, Wilcox remained very optimistic. Her best-known poetry book was Poems of Passion (1883). In her later years she went to France during World War 1 to lecture to the soldiers, and assist with the Red Cross.

    I love your lips when they’re wet with wine
    And red with a wild desire;
    I love your eyes when the lovelight lies
    Lit with a passionate fire.

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    I love "I Love You" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. She tells it as it is when young hearts are lit with hearts on fire in the midst of desire. Love is meant to be happy and carefree. Heaven knows in...

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  9. 7. How Do I Love Thee?

    "How Do I Love Thee?" is one of the poems that make up the forty-four poems of Sonnets from the Portuguese. They were written while she was still courting her future husband, Mr. Browning, between 1845 and 1846. She writes that the love she has for him is everlasting and consumes every part of her.

    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.

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    On August 25, 2017, the love of my life and I had been chatting while he shaved. I walked away, and I was gone 12 minutes. Sometime in those stupid 12 minutes he dropped to his knees and died...

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  10. 8. Love Sonnet XI

    In this sensual love poem, Pablo Neruda compares a hunting puma to desiring his lover. He is starving for her touch and love, and he is seeking after her. Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was a Chilean poet well-known for his passionate love poems. He was married three times, and his first wife did not speak Spanish.

    I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
    Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
    Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
    I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

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  11. 9. Don't Go Far Off, Not Even For A Day

    Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) writes this poem about the intense love between two people. A man is so strongly connected to his lover that he fears what will happen if she ever decides to leave. He doesn’t want her to be away from him, even for a day, for he doesn’t know how he will survive without her. Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet, had three wives. This poem is made up of quatrains and tercets that contain descriptive language.

    Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
    because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long
    and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
    when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

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    I really feel the same when she is away.

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  12. 10. I Am Not Yours

    Sara Teasdale (1884 - 1933) was an American Poet. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri. In this poem, she writes about a longing for a passionate love which will "leave me deaf and blind."

    I am not yours, not lost in you,
    Not lost, although I long to be
    Lost as a candle lit at noon,
    Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

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  13. 11. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

    Pablo Neruda was born in 1904 in Chile. His real name was Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He wrote in green ink as a symbol of love and desire. Many of his poems have been translated from the original Spanish.

    I do not love you except because I love you;
    I go from loving to not loving you,
    From waiting to not waiting for you
    My heart moves from cold to fire.

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    Sounds like what every humble man goes through 'till he wins her heart or someone comes along and steals her away from him.

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  14. 12. Invitation To Love

    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.

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  15. 13. I Wish I Could Remember That First Day

    I wish I could remember that first day,
    First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
    If bright or dim the season, it might be
    Summer or winter for aught I can say;

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  16. 14. Love's Coming

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American author and poet who lived from 1850-1919. Her goal was to write pieces that lifted people’s spirits. In this poem, she writes of the great expectation of falling in love--that it will be an earth shattering moment, but the girl she writes about finds that she has fallen in love with someone who has always been by her side and is considered a close friend. That love has stood the test of time. This poem is made up of quatrains, four-line stanzas, that have a rhyme scheme of ABCB. The structure is also very intentional. The first two lines of each stanza show what the speaker hopes for when it comes to love, and the second two lines of each stanza reveal her reality.

    She had looked for his coming as warriors come,
    With the clash of arms and the bugle's call;
    But he came instead with a stealthy tread,
    Which she did not hear at all.

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    I had an old book of EWW poems when I was young that had belonged to my Grandmother, who was born in 1904, given to her by my Grandfather. Reading them brings back some memories. I didn't...

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  17. 15. Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond

    E.E. Cummings (1894-1962) was an American poet. He had his own unique writing style where he didn’t use spaces after commas or capital letters where appropriate. E.E. Cummings did not give his poems titles, so editors would generally take the first line of his poems to create titles. In this poem, the speaker is head-over-heels in love. His lover has complete control over him, and she constantly amazes him. Similes, personification, and alliteration can be found in this piece. It is made up of quatrains that do not follow a rhyme scheme.

    somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
    any 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 near

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    This poem is the one that did it! I read this along with my class, in seventh grade, and was forever inspired by the way Cummings uses words to create this picture of love and roses. He uses...

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  18. 16. Always Marry An April Girl

    April is a month of tumultuous weather. Some days are dry, sunny, and pristine. Others are cold, stormy, and unenjoyable. Ogden Nash compares women to the month of April. They can be unpredictable. Sometimes they’re sweet and tender. Other times they’re cruel and angry, but in the end, they are loved for who they are.

    Praise the spells and bless the charms,
    I found April in my arms.
    April golden, April cloudy,
    Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;

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    I was searching for a short poem that encapsulates the love I have for my wife. When I saw this, I knew. My wife's birthday is in April. The double meaning of marrying an April girl really...

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  19. 17. A Dream Girl

    Carl Sandburg was an American poet who lived from 1878-1967. Due to the financial strain in his family, he was only able to attend school through 8th grade, but his family valued diligence and education. Later in life, he did get to attend Lombard College for a tuition-free education because he served in the Spanish-American War. In this poem, the speaker talks of a girl he will meet one day. He hopes she will come into his life, but he knows it might be just a dream.

    You will come one day in a waver of love,
    Tender as dew, impetuous as rain,
    The tan of the sun will be on your skin,
    The purr of the breeze in your murmuring speech,

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  20. 18. If Thou Must Love Me

    If Thou Must Love Me is Sonnet 14 in "Sonnets from the Portuguese," a collection of 44 love poems from Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) to her future husband Robert Browning. The couple married in 1846 and the collection was first published in 1850. Elizabeth was hesitant to publish the extremely personal collection, but Robert, a famous poet himself, urged her to publish them. The title suggesting that the sonnets were written by an unknown Portuguese was an attempt to give the couple some privacy.

    If thou must love me, let it be for nought
    Except for love's sake only. Do not say
    I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
    Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought

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  21. 19. Advice To A Girl

    Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) was an American poet who wrote seven books of poetry during her lifetime. Many of her poems focused on the emotional development of women. In this poem, the opening lines are repeated at the end, bringing attention to the theme of this poem that no one is in control of who you are. Each person has value and cannot be possessed by another.

    No one worth possessing
    Can be quite possessed;
    Lay that on your heart,
    My young angry dear;

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  22. 20. My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun

    Poem about an ordinary relationship between lovers that is extraordinary. This poem is written in the form of a sonnet, which is a 14 line rhyming poem that has its origins in Italy. This poem makes fun of passionate love poetry in which the poet imagines that their lover is more spectacular than anything in the universe. Instead, the poet maintains that his relationship with his lover is as unique and magnificent as any other although his lover is an ordinary woman.

    My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
    Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
    If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
    If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

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    How absolutely lovely! The way the poem 'shows' more than tells is magnificent; this is an art unto itself!

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