Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

—William Shakespeare

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photo by Michelle DeRusha

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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

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photo by Claire Burge

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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

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photo by Kelly Sauer

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Sonnet 1

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,—
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,
Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention’s stay:
Invention, Nature’s child, fled step-dame Study’s blows,
And others’ feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
“Fool,” said my Muse to me, “look in thy heart and write.”

—Sir Philip Sidney

For more Sir Philip Sidney poems, see Astrophil and Stella

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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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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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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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