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.

25 of the Best Famous Love Poems

  1. 1. [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)
                                                          i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    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's keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

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  3. 2. 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:
    if I look
    at the crystal moon, at the red branch
    of the slow autumn at my window,
    if I touch
    near the fire
    the impalpable ash
    or the wrinkled body of the log,
    everything carries me to you,
    as if everything that exists,
    aromas, light, metals,
    were little boats
    that sail
    toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

    Well, now,
    if little by little you stop loving me
    I shall stop loving you little by little.

    If suddenly
    you forget me
    do not look for me,
    for I shall already have forgotten you.

    If you think it long and mad,
    the wind of banners
    that passes through my life,
    and you decide
    to leave me at the shore
    of the heart where I have roots,
    that on that day,
    at that hour,
    I shall lift my arms
    and my roots will set off
    to seek another land.

    if each day,
    each hour,
    you feel that you are destined for me
    with implacable sweetness,
    if each day a flower
    climbs up to your lips to seek me,
    ah my love, ah my own,
    in me all that fire is repeated,
    in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
    my love feeds on your love, beloved,
    and as long as you live it will be in your arms
    without leaving mine.

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  5. 3. 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.
    I love your arms when the warm white flesh
        Touches mine in a fond embrace;
    I love your hair when the strands enmesh
        Your kisses against my face.

    Not for me the cold, calm kiss
        Of a virgin’s bloodless love;
    Not for me the saint’s white bliss,
        Nor the heart of a spotless dove.
    But give me the love that so freely gives
        And laughs at the whole world’s blame,
    With your body so young and warm in my arms,
        It sets my poor heart aflame.

    So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth,
        Still fragrant with ruby wine,
    And say with a fervor born of the South
        That your body and soul are mine.
    Clasp me close in your warm young arms,
        While the pale stars shine above,
    And we’ll live our whole young lives away
        In the joys of a living love.

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  6. 4. 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.
    I love thee to the level of every day's
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    I love with a passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

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  7. 5. 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.

    I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
    I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
    for you to smell the sea that we loved together
    and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

    I want for what I love to go on living
    and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
    for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

    so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
    so that my shadow passes through your hair,
    so that they know by this the reason for my song.

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  8. 6. 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.

    I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
    the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
    and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
    from the earth lives dimly in my body.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
    I love you directly without problems or pride:
    I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
    except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
    so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
    so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

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  9. 7. 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--
    The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
    Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
    While new emotions, like strange barges, make
    Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
    Still as the dawn, and with the dawn's swift force--
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    In the avoidance of that which we seek--
    The sudden silence and reserve when near--
    The eye that glistens with an unshed tear--
    The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
    As the alarmed heart leaps in the breast,
    And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest--
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek--
    The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
    And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
    In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
    In all fair things to one beloved face;
    In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
    In looks and lips that can no more dissemble--
    Thus doth Love speak.

    How does Love speak?
    In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
    They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
    Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
    Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
    In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
    Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
    Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
    In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
    And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss--
    Thus doth Love speak.

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  10. 8. 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.

    Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
    then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
    the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
    into me, choking my lost heart.

    Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
    may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
    Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,

    because in that moment you'll have gone so far
    I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
    Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

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    I really feel the same when she is away.

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  11. 9. 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.

    I hunger for your sleek laugh,
    your hands the color of a savage harvest,
    hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
    I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

    I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
    the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
    I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

    and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
    hunting for you, for your hot heart,
    like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

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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.

    You love me, and I find you still
    A spirit beautiful and bright,
    Yet I am I, who long to be
    Lost as a light is lost in light.

    Oh plunge me deep in love - put out
    My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
    Swept by the tempest of your love,
    A taper in a rushing wind.

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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.

    I love you only because it's you the one I love;
    I hate you deeply, and hating you
    Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
    Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

    Maybe January light will consume
    My heart with its cruel
    Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

    In this part of the story I am the one who
    Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
    Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

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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. On Marriage

    The poem "On Marriage" by Kahlil Gibran is a poignant exploration of the nature of love and partnership. Through the voice of the master, Gibran speaks to the eternal bond that exists between two people who choose to spend their lives together, even beyond death. However, the poem also cautions against the dangers of losing oneself completely in a relationship and emphasizes the importance of maintaining one's individuality while still cherishing and supporting their partner. Gibran's use of vivid imagery and metaphor creates a powerful and thought-provoking piece on the complexities of love and marriage.
    The poem begins with these lines:
    Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master? And he answered saying:

    You were born together, and together you shall be forever more.
    You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
    Yes, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
    And let the winds of heaven dance between you.
    Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but each one of you be
    alone – even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
    Give your hearts, but not in each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the Cyprus grow not in each other’s shadows

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

    In "I Wish I Could Remember That First Day" by Christina Rossetti, the speaker expresses a longing to remember the details of their first meeting with someone special. The speaker reflects on the passing of that significant moment, regretting their lack of awareness and inability to foresee the importance it would hold. The poem captures the bittersweet feeling of realizing the significance of a past event that was initially overlooked or taken for granted. The speaker yearns to recollect the touch of that first encounter, emphasizing the power and significance of human connection.

    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;
    So unrecorded did it slip away,
        So blind was I to see and to foresee,
        So dull to mark the budding of my tree
    That would not blossom yet for many a May.
    If only I could recollect it, such
        A day of days! I let it come and go
        As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
    It seem'd 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!

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  16. 14. 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;
    April soft in flowered languor,
    April cold with sudden anger,
    Ever changing, ever true --
    I love April, I love you.

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  17. 15. Invitation To Love

    "Invitation to Love" by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a welcoming poem that invites love to enter the speaker's life in all its forms. Whether it's during starry nights, moonlit evenings, or sunny days, love is embraced. It is described as sweet and gentle, compared to a nesting dove. The poem extends its invitation during moments of both sorrow and joy, in the changing seasons and natural beauty. The repeated refrain of "you are welcome, welcome" highlights the sincere openness to love's presence throughout life's diverse experiences.

    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.

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  18. 16. 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

    your slightest look easily will unclose me
    though i have closed myself as fingers,
    you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
    (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

    or if your wish be to close me,i and
    my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
    as when the heart of this flower imagines
    the snow carefully everywhere descending;

    nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
    the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
    compels me with the colour of its countries,
    rendering death and forever with each breathing

    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens;only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
    nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

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  19. 17. 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.

    She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun,
    As he rode like a prince to claim his bride:
    In the sweet dim light of the falling night
    She found him at her side.

    She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye
    Would wake her heart to a sudden glow:
    She found in his face the familiar grace
    Of a friend she used to know.

    She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul,
    As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm's strife:
    He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm,
    And a peace which crowned her life.

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  20. 18. I, Being Born A Woman And Distressed

    "I, Being Born A Woman And Distressed" by Edna St. Vincent Millay also known as Sonnet XLI, is a poem that explores the complexities of love and desire. Through the use of poetic techniques such as imagery and metaphor, Millay portrays the speaker's struggle with societal expectations and her own desires. The poem's emotional tone is conflicted, with the speaker torn between her physical attraction to the addressee and her own sense of self. Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright known for her lyrical and emotionally charged poetry. She was a prominent figure in the literary and feminist movements of the early 20th century.

    I, being born a woman and distressed
    By all the needs and notions of my kind,
    Am urged by your propinquity to find
    Your person fair, and feel a certain zest
    To bear your body's weight upon my breast:
    So subtly is the fume of life designed,
    To clarify the pulse and cloud the mind,
    And leave me once again undone, possessed.
    Think not for this, however, the poor treason
    Of my stout blood against my staggering brain,
    I shall remember you with love, or season
    My scorn with pity, —let me make it plain:
    I find this frenzy insufficient reason
    For conversation when we meet again.

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  21. 19. 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,
    You will pose with a hill-flower grace.

    You will come, with your slim, expressive arms,
    A poise of the head no sculptor has caught
    And nuances spoken with shoulder and neck,
    Your face in pass-and-repass of moods
    As many as skies in delicate change
    Of cloud and blue and flimmering sun.

    You may not come, O girl of a dream,
    We may but pass as the world goes by
    And take from a look of eyes into eyes,
    A film of hope and a memoried day.

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  22. 20. 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;
    This truth, this hard and precious stone,
    Lay it on your hot cheek,
    Let it hide your tear.
    Hold it like a crystal
    When you are alone
    And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.
    Long, look long and you will be blessed:
    No one worth possessing
    Can be quite possessed.

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