A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
The breath goes now, and some say, No:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do.

And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

—John Donne (1633)

Want to discuss this poem? Stop by our Poetry Classroom at Tweetspeak Poetry, and talk with Classics professor Karen Swallow Prior

Send a beautiful love poem card now

love poem card string instrument

photo by Claire Burge

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy’s spring but sorrow’s fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten, -
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

—Sir Walter Raleigh (1600)

For a discussion of this poetry-wars style reply to Christopher Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, check out Tweetspeak Poetry’s Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd, with Classics professor Karen Swallow Prior

Send a beautiful love poem card now

curtains love poem card

photo by Claire Burge

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

The Reading

Run your hand over the poem,
and you already know it.

Feel the round of the R to begin;
curl under the opening line and cup
the first y so you can feel its tail
tickling. Run your hand across
its side and gather up the poem,
the cup, the tail and begin down.

You will do this again, but for now
you already know what’s coming
before you know it—
the way I knew I would find you.

I knew the way a hand knows,
before a syllable is spoken.

—L.L. Barkat, author of the fiction-poetry title The Novelist

Send a beautiful love poem card now

beautiful flowers love poem card

photo by Willingham Lindquist

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

Sonnet (With Children)

My love is like a deep and placid lake…
Not now, sweetie, Daddy’s busy, OK?
OK: my love’s a deep and peaceful lake…
Here, Daddy can fix it. All better. Now go play.
Um, my love, yes—a rose that blooms in spring…
You tell her Daddy says she has to share.
My love’s… My love’s a lake that blooms—no, that springs…
On the wall?! Her what?! No, wait—I’ll be right there.
OK—love, lake, spring, joy, flower bedding…
And why is the house so quiet now, I wonder?
Ah, fuck it! (Whoops! Don’t say that!) You know where I’m heading.
Don’t touch a thing—I need to get the plunger!
Forgive me, love, but time, as you know, is ticking.
So here: no you, no joy, no life. No kidding.

— Gabriel Spera

For more Gabriel Spera poems, see The Rigid Body

This poem appeared in Every Day Poems

Send a beautiful love poem card now

doorknob love poem card

photo by Claire Burge

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider’d all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

—Christopher Marlowe

For more Christopher Marlowe love poems, see Complete Poems

Check out this discussion of The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, with author and Classics professor Karen Swallow Prior, at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Send a beautiful love poem card now

blossoms love poem card

photo by Sarah Elwell

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

New Moon

Moonrise is not forever,
so in this brief hour
while we are tidal,
ebbing and flowing,
show me your light.

—Lorna Cahall

This love poem appeared in Every Day Poems. Subscribe now, for a year of happy mornings.

Send a beautiful love poem card now

lace love poem card

photo by Kelly Sauer

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

Sonnet 130: My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing like the Sun

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.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

—William Shakespeare

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

Send a beautiful love poem card now

Sky stars love poem photo

photo by Kelly Sauer

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

Ontology

She can be a nest.
She’s got the necessary equipment.
Two breasts
you could rest your head between.
She can be a string of pearls,
rounded between your fingers,
as you count the time
between ivory knots.
She is, yes, the artichoke
with the impossible heart
a man might seek for tenderness.
She is the cherry,
containing a center stone
you work around with an agile tongue.
Sometimes she would like to be
just a white dress. Not the satin kind,
but the plain cotton,
with the simple buttons
you’d undo down the back,
wondering how a body hides within
such easy transparency.

—L.L. Barkat, author of the fiction/poetry title The Novelist

Send a beautiful love poem card now

beautiful girl love poem card

photo by Sarah Elwell

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs

Love and Sleep

Lying asleep between the strokes of night
I saw my love lean over my sad bed,
Pale as the duskiest lily’s leaf or head,
Smooth-skinned and dark, with bare throat made to bite,

Too wan for blushing and too warm for white,
But perfect-coloured without white or red.
And her lips opened amorously, and said –
I wist not what, saving one word – Delight.

And all her face was honey to my mouth,
And all her body pasture to mine eyes;
The long lithe arms and hotter hands than fire,
The quivering flanks, hair smelling of the south,
The bright light feet, the splendid supple thighs
And glittering eyelids of my soul’s desire.

—Algernon Charles Swinburne

For more Algernon Charles Swinburne love poems, see Poems and Ballads

Send a beautiful love poem card now

Rumi love poem card

photo by Kelly Sauer

Check out Funny Love Songs
Check out Romantic Love Songs