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Thread: The Best Love Poems of All Time

  1. #421
    Wild is the Wind Silas Thorne's Avatar
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    I did a bit of editing to this love letter from Tarzan in 'Tarzan of the Apes', Chapter 18, by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

    I am Tarzan of the Apes.
    I want you. I am yours. You are mine.
    We live here together always in my house.
    I will bring you the best of fruits, the tenderest deer, the finest meats that roam the jungle.
    I will hunt for you. I am the greatest of the jungle fighters.
    I will fight for you. I am the mightiest of the jungle fighters.
    You are Jane Porter, I saw it in your letter.
    When you see this you will know that it is for you and that Tarzan of the Apes loves you.

    Will this work?

  2. #422
    Sipping the Tea a_little_wisp's Avatar
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    Ah, this is by Peter S. Beagle from his book 'The Last Unicorn'. It's... nothing crazily elegant, but ... love isn't always crazily elegant. Anyway:
    Last edited by a_little_wisp; 03-31-2009 at 01:26 AM.
    Then she would run until morning to ease the ache; swifter than rain, swift as loss, racing to catch up with the time when she had known nothing at all but the sweetness of being herself.

    -- Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

  3. #423
    There are so many great poems on this thread. My little piece of Love poem.

    Celestial Love

    Higher far,
    Upward, into the pure realm,
    Over sun or star,
    Over the flickering D?on film,
    Thou must mount for love,?br> Into vision which all form
    In one only form dissolves;
    In a region where the wheel,
    On which all beings ride,
    Visibly revolves;
    Where the starred eternal worm
    Girds the world with bound and term;
    Where unlike things are like,
    When good and ill,
    And joy and moan,
    Melt into one.
    There Past, Present, Future, shoot
    Triple blossoms from one root
    Substances at base divided
    In their summits are united,
    There the holy Essence rolls,
    One through separated souls,
    And the sunny ?n sleeps
    Folding nature in its deeps,
    And every fair and every good
    Known in part or known impure
    To men below,
    In their archetypes endure.

    The race of gods,
    Or those we erring own,
    Are shadows flitting up and down
    In the still abodes.
    The circles of that sea are laws,
    Which publish and which hide the Cause.
    Pray for a beam
    Out of that sphere
    Thee to guide and to redeem.
    O what a load
    Of care and toil
    By lying Use bestowed,
    From his shoulders falls, who sees
    The true astronomy,
    The period of peace!
    Counsel which the ages kept,
    Shall the well-born soul accept.
    As the overhanging trees
    Fill the lake with images,
    As garment draws the garment's hem
    Men their fortunes bring with them;
    By right or wrong,
    Lands and goods go to the strong;
    Property will brutely draw
    Still to the proprietor,
    Silver to silver creep and wind,
    And kind to kind,
    Nor less the eternal poles
    Of tendency distribute souls.
    There need no vows to bind
    Whom not each other seek but find.
    They give and take no pledge or oath,
    Nature is the bond of both.
    No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns,
    Their noble meanings are their pawns.
    Plain and cold is their address,
    Power have they for tenderness,
    And so thoroughly is known
    Each others' purpose by his own,
    They can parley without meeting,
    Need is none of forms of greeting,
    They can well communicate
    In their innermost estate;
    When each the other shall avoid,
    Shall each by each be most enjoyed.
    Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
    Do these celebrate their loves,
    Not by jewels, feasts, and savors,
    Not by ribbons or by favors,
    But by the sun-spark on the sea,
    And the cloud-shadow on the lea,
    The soothing lapse of morn to mirk,
    And the cheerful round of work.
    Their cords of love so public are,
    They intertwine the farthest star.
    The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
    Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;
    Is none so high, so mean is none,
    But feels and seals this union.
    Even the tell Furies are appeased,
    The good applaud, the lost are eased.

    Love's hearts are faithful, but not fond,
    Bound for the just, but not beyond;
    Not glad, as the low-loving herd,
    Of self in others still preferred,
    But they have heartily designed
    The benefit of broad mankind.
    And they serve men austerely,
    After their own genius, clearly,
    Without a false humility;
    For this is love's nobility,
    Not to scatter bread and gold,
    Goods and raiment bought and sold,
    But to hold fast his simple sense,
    And speak the speech of innocence,
    And with hand, and body, and blood,
    To make his bosom-counsel good:
    For he that feeds men, serveth few,
    He serves all, who dares be true.

    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
    The angels are so enamored of the language that is spoken in heaven that they will not distort their lips with the hissing and unmusical dialects of men, but speak their own, whether their be any who understand it or not. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #424
    Registered User Red-Headed's Avatar
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    Favourite poem of all time is a difficult one! I don't know what criteria you could use to determine that. I might plump for Milton's Paradise Lost, Blake's Tyger or Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere (original spelling).

    However, I have always loved Louis Macneice's Bagpipe Music.

    I'm going to have to get better reading glasses as I have posted this in the wrong forum. Doh!

    I will say my favourite love poem would be Yeat's No Second Troy, as it is predominantly about his unrequited love for Maud Gonne.
    Last edited by Red-Headed; 04-06-2009 at 08:57 PM.
    docendo discimus

  5. #425
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    It is the hour

    It is the hour when from the boughs
    The nightingale's high note is heard;
    It is the hour -- when lover's vows
    Seem sweet in every whisper'd word;
    And gentle winds and waters near,
    Make music to the lonely ear.
    Each flower the dews have lightly wet,
    And in the sky the stars are met,
    And on the wave is deeper blue,
    And on the leaf a browner hue,
    And in the Heaven that clear obscure
    So softly dark, and darkly pure,
    That follows the decline of day
    As twilight melts beneath the moon away.

  6. #426
    Registered User blithe_spirit's Avatar
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    My favourite love poem has to be:

    Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

    He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B.Yeats

    A beautiful sentiment, beautifully written.

  7. #427
    'sunflower' Tournesol's Avatar
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    lovingly in his eyes, snugly in his arms, safely in his heart...
    I really love these two poems by Robert Browning!
    They're both bitter-sweet!

    Meeting at Night

    The gray sea and the long black land;
    And the yellow half-moon large and low
    And the startled little waves that leap
    In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
    As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
    And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

    Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
    Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
    A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
    And blue spurt of a lighted match,
    And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
    Than the two hearts beating each to each!

    Parting at Morning

    Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
    And the sun looked over the mountain's rim:
    And straight was a path of gold for him,
    And the need of a world of men for me.
    "My warm hands have made the paper limp,
    So that its feel reminds me of slept-in sheets: comfortable and safe"

    "All these things I say... I say them because I want you to know, I don't ever want to regret afterwards that I didn't say enough, I would rather say too much." ~ Samuel Selvon

  8. #428
    Registered User Saladin's Avatar
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    My Love Is Like to Ice by Edmund Spenser

    My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
    How comes it then that this her cold so great
    Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
    But harder grows the more I her entreat?
    Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
    Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
    But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
    And feel my flames augmented manifold?
    What more miraculous thing may be told,
    That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
    And ice, which is congealed with senseless cold,
    Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
    Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
    That it can alter all the course of kind.
    Always do that, wild ducks do. They shoot to the bottom as deep as they can get, sir and bite themselves fast in the tangle and seaweed and all the devil's own mess that grows down there. And they never come up again. - The Wild Duck, Henrik Ibsen.

  9. #429
    Wild is the Wind Silas Thorne's Avatar
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    'The Mistress: A Song'
    by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

    An age in her embraces passed
    Would seem a winter's day;
    When life and light, with envious haste,
    Are torn and snatched away.

    But, oh! how slowly minutes roll.
    When absent from her eyes
    That feed my love, which is my soul,
    It languishes and dies.

    For then no more a soul but shade
    It mournfully does move
    And haunts my breast, by absence made
    The living tomb of love.

    You wiser men despise me not,
    Whose love-sick fancy raves
    On shades of souls and Heaven knows what;
    Short ages live in graves.

    Whene'er those woundng eyes, so full
    Of sweetness, you did see,
    Had you not been profoundly dull,
    You had gone mad like me.

    Nor censure us, you who perceive
    My best beloved and me
    Sign and lament, complain and grieve;
    You think we disagree.

    Alas, 'tis sacred jealousy,
    Love raised to an extreme;
    The only proof 'twixt her and me,
    We love, and do not dream.

    Fantastic fancies fondly move
    And in frail joys believe,
    Taking false pleasure for true love;
    But pain can ne'er deceive.

    Kind jealous doubts, tormenting fears,
    And anxious cares when past,
    Prove our heart's treasure fixed and dear,
    And make us blessed at last.

  10. #430
    My favourite love poem is probably Matthew Arnorld's

    'Dover Beach'

    The sea is calm to-night.
    The tide is full, the moon lies fair
    Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
    Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
    Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
    Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
    Only, from the long line of spray
    Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
    Listen! you hear the grating roar
    Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
    At their return, up the high strand,
    Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
    With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
    The eternal note of sadness in.

    Sophocles long ago
    Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
    Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
    Of human misery; we
    Find also in the sound a thought,
    Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

    The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    Retreating, to the breath
    Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
    And naked shingles of the world.

    Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another! for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
    So various, so beautiful, so new,
    Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
    Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.

    The 'Ah, love, let us be true to one another!' fragment is intensely memorable.

  11. #431
    If You Forget Me

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    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.

  12. #432
    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
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    That's lovely, forever bloom. Who wrote it?
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Bonzai
    "Some people say I done alright for a girl." Melanie Safka

  13. #433
    This celestial seascape! Lynne50's Avatar
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    On a much lighter note...
    Here by Grace Paley

    Here I am in the garden laughing
    an old woman with heavy breasts
    and a nicely mapped face.

    How did this happen?
    well that's who I wanted to be
    at last a woman
    in the old style of sitting,

    stout thighs apart under
    a big skirt grandchild sliding
    on off my lap a pleasant
    summer perspiration.

    that's my old man across the yard
    he's talking to the meter reader
    he's telling him the world's a sad story
    how electricity is oil or uranium and so forth.

    I tell my grandson
    run over to your grandpa and ask him
    to sit beside me for a minute.

    I am suddenly exhausted by my desire
    to kiss his sweet explaining lips.
    "What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare." W.H. Davies

  14. #434
    The Exequy by Henry King...

    This is a superb lament to the poet's dead wife. I won't quote this long poem, but I direct your attention to the passage beginning with:

    Mean time, thou hast her, earth: much good
    May my harm do thee...

  15. #435
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    There are so many beautiful love poems on this thread, many of them favourites of mine. I couldn't just pick one from the greats of Shakespeare, Donne, Neruda, Barrett Browning, Yeats, Byron.......

    I didn't see Christina Rossetti on here though, (apologies if I've missed her).

    Christina Rossetti

    REMEMBER me when I am gone away,
    Gone far away into the silent land;
    When you can no more hold me by the hand,
    Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
    Remember me when no more day by day
    You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
    Only remember me; you understand
    It will be late to counsel then or pray.
    Yet if you should forget me for a while
    And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
    For if the darkness and corruption leave
    A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
    Better by far you should forget and smile
    Than that you should remember and be sad.

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