A Line-Storm Song

The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,
The road is forlorn all day,
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,
And the hoof-prints vanish away.
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
Expend their bloom in vain.
Come over the hills and far with me,
And be my love in the rain.

The birds have less to say for themselves
In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,
Although they are no less there:
All song of the woods is crushed like some
Wild, easily shattered rose.
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
Where the boughs rain when it blows.

There is the gale to urge behind
And bruit our singing down,
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
From which to gather your gown.
What matter if we go clear to the west,
And come not through dry-shod?
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast
The rain-fresh goldenrod.

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea’s return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when after doubt
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.

—Robert Frost, 1915

For more Robert Frost poems, see Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays

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Be My Love in the Rain Robert Frost photo by Kelly Sauer

photo by Kelly Sauer

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Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

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 candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the 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.

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

For more love poems, see Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems

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How do I love thee Emily Dickinson art by Emily Wierenga

art by Emily Wierenga

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To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart;
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

—Andrew Marvell

For more love poems, see The Complete Poems of Andrew Marvell

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Had we but world enough Andrew Marvell photo by Kelly Sauer

photo by Kelly Sauer

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She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How 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!

—Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1814

For more love poems, see Byron’s Poetry and Prose

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Every shadow holds the curve of your neck Dave Malone photo by Claire Burge

photo by Claire Burge

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Shakespeare: Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

—William Shakespeare, 1609

The lover in The Novelist recites this sonnet to overcome the main character, Laura. It works. Read more about The Novelist at Tweetspeak Poetry.

For more Shakespeare love poems, see Love Poems & Sonnets of William Shakespeare

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Love—like there has never been Shakespeare in Love photo by Tina Howard

photo by Fall Meadow Photography

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Oh You Whom

O you whom I often and silently come where you are that
I may be with you,
As I walk by your side or sit near, or remain in the same
room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is
playing within me.

—Walt Whitman, for more love poems see Leaves of Grass

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subtle electric fire that plays for you Walt Whitman photo by Sonia Joie

photo by Sonia Joie

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I Love You

When April bends above me
And finds me fast asleep,
Dust need not keep the secret
A live heart died to keep.

When April tells the thrushes,
The meadow-larks will know,
And pipe the three words lightly
To all the winds that blow.

Above his roof the swallows,
In notes like far-blown rain,
Will tell the little sparrow
Beside his window-pane.

O sparrow, little sparrow,
When I am fast asleep,
Then tell my love the secret
That I have died to keep.

—Sara Teasdale, for more love poems see Flame and Shadow

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Then I kiss you Sara Teasdale photo by Kelly Sauer

photo by Kelly Sauer

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On Anatomy and Physiology

I still remember just how you look
naked, the pale curve of your back,
the quiet inlet where it bends
to meet the taper of your waist,
shower water wending where it will
along the architecture of your form.

There may have been studies of a form
such as yours, that begged charges look
and chart the firm geography they will
find around each smooth surface and back—
from the ankle to knee and knee to waist—
while changing, adapting as the figure bends,

saying, Note where the wrist starts, thumb ends,
and how the hip tendons each transform.
And every student might attend to your waist
but neglect the collective, assembled look
produced by the bones in your neck and back,
how they form a straight line of poise and will.

Maybe what I saw when I saw you naked will
amount to what makes or breaks or bends
me. I caught your eye, and you glanced back.
You didn’t flinch or show the slightest form
of embarrassment. I remember the look—
a subtle nod and smile—you might waste

as if it were a familiar gaze, might waste
in calm, in nonchalance, in pure goodwill.
Or maybe this gaze is the way you look
into me, past the way my own body bends
to cover my soul, to hide and conform,
to be sure and have my own back—

to hold close and hold tight and hold back
like anxiety for being seen from the waist
down, naked, vulnerable, without form.
Maybe it won’t matter, and maybe it will;
but, having caught you so bared unbends
me, makes me measure, take another look

at my maudlin self—a cruel look to see my back
still bends wrong, my legs, trunk, hands—a waste
of time to contest if ever I will match your form.

—David K. Wheeler, author of Contingency Plans: Poems

This poem is a reprint from Every Day Poems.

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I still remember just how you look David Wheeler photo by LL Barkat

photo by L.L. Barkat

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Good Neighbors

He wondered how she knew about the Cheetos;
he thought he’d washed the orange dust off clean.
Did she note down each case of beef burritos
the dry-ice truck delivered, sight unseen?
And what about the Snickers bags? Did she
use high-powered binoculars to scan?
Did she note down each luscious wheel of Brie,
each sugared soda in its cheerful can?
What was her interest here? What did she make
of diet gone awry? Or his dismay,
as he insanely wolfed each dwindling cake?
What were her thoughts, one whole backyard away?
He thought he’d call her up, ask her to dine.
He’d better buy another box of wine.

—James Cummins, author of Then & Now

This poem is a reprint from Every Day Poems.

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another box of wine James Cummins photo by Kelly Sauer

photo by Kelly Sauer

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