Love - Poems About Love
Love, as a subject, is arguably the poet's jackpot. Love poems exist of all imaginable types: romantic love, platonic love, familial love, unwanted love, love for a pet, love of nature, devotional love... And, of course, perhaps the most common type of love poem - one which deals with the loss of love.
Here's a look at some extracts from fourteen love poems the Poetry Magazines site has to offer, whether you're in the mood for something bitter or something sweet.
These extracts are just a small selection of the poems about love you can read on our magazines site. If you wish to see a fuller list, you can access our site’s Advanced Search here and search for "love" as the Subject term. You can also access the Poetry Library’s catalogue or contact the Poetry Library directly.
Let's start with this poem by Carcanet poet Richard Price, a variation on a poem by 13th Century Florentine poet Guido Cavalcanti. It was published in 2008 in an issue of Painted, Spoken, an occasional little magazine based in London:
Moving from darkness into light, here is a poem by Arc poet Katherine Gallagher, published in a 2006 issue of long-running poetry magazine Magma:
In a less romantic turn, London-based poet Will Brooker gives us 'In love with your sister, I think' which was also published in Magma, in a 1996 issue:
In love with your sister, I think
it began when she danced
dress a whirl round her pins
her own world, gyroscopic
face sweetly intent
never breaking a sweat
she made it make sense for six hours nonstop.
Meanwhile, Shoestring Press poet and HappenStance publisher Helena Nelson is in bed with a snake in this poem from a 2001 issue of long-running London magazine Ambit:
It was part of the vow we kept
that your pet snake should lie in the bed.
Sounds far-fetched, I know. And snakes are phallic.
But this one was tame, pure black and very shy,
a neat dark coil with quietly golden eye.
Welsh poet J. Brookes published '4am', a different spin on the joys of beginning a new love affair, in a 2002 issue of the now defunct Cardiff-based magazine The Yellow Crane:
... Leaping up
I tore the bed to bits and threw
your body-scent behind the door
and changed the sheets, thinking
O, not love again, and down the line
as sure as dawn, the end of love
and all that pain.
Flambard poet Desmond Graham attempts a definition of heartbreak in this Nottingham-based magazine, Staple, published in 2007:
to break hearts
is like walking through a garden and smashing
down everything that grows
and carefully closing the gate...
White Leaf Press poet Jonathan Attrill strikes a more positive but seemingly more self-indulgent tone in this poem published in 2006 in the Guildford-based magazine Weyfarers:
I love this body of mine.
I love it so much I put things into it
to keep it going, like bananas
and peanuts and bread and water,
and even the odd Mars bar.
I take it for a jog round the streets
in the morning so my heart
will stay strong...
Cornwall-based poet Victoria Field shares the memory of a short-lived love affair in this 2010 issue of Poetry Cornwall:
I didn't know you were giving me
a girl with no home town
the gift of Cornwall...
'I Go Back to May 1997'
By contrast this poem by Bengali poet Jibanananda Das, written in 1934, transports us to the Indian subcontinent. This version was translated by Indian poet and editor Sudeep Sen and published in a 2007 issue of international magazine Atlas:
For thousand years I have walked this earth’s passage
by day and night—from Lanka’s shores to Malay’s vast seas.
I’ve travelled much—been a guest at Bimbhishar and at Ashok’s courts,
stayed in the distant nights, in the town of Bidharba.
I’m long worn-out; around me waters of sea and life have endlessly swirled.
My only peace—a fleeting moment snatched with her—
Natore’r Banalata Sen...
It's back to Britain with this poem from HappenStance poet Jim Burns. His Manchester springtime is pregnant with possibility in this poem from 1972 published in Second Aeon, a magazine which was edited by Peter Finch:
I get up early,
and tune in the radio
and listen to "By the time
I get to Phoenix," but
I'm not going to Phoenix,
I'm going to Manchester,
which is probably less
romantic but, still, I'm
thinking about what you'll
be doing when I get there.
London-based American Salt poet Tamar Yoseloff writes about the thrill of illumination in this poem published in a 2005 issue of queer literary journal Chroma:
We place our fingers against
each other’s lips, a vow of silence,
This poem by Lagan Press poet Sam Gardiner draws a love story from some bus stop graffiti, and was published in long-established magazine The Rialto in 2009:
‘Deano is good in bed’ is etched into
the painted metal of a No. 9 bus shelter,
maybe by his steady girlfriend Nat,
or by the networking Deano himself.
Nat knew she wasn’t beautiful,
except to Deano.
'Valley of Delights'
Going back around 85 years, this poem by Arthur Braine-Hartnell was published in a 1926 issue of historic magazine Oxford Poetry, edited by W.H. Auden. The poem is written in a ballad style and tells the tale of a knight who is bewitched by a fairy:
A knight, was weary from the way,
Came to the castle of a Fay,
And prayed to find refreshment there,
And grace, and lodgment for his mare.
And there he lingered many a day...
And lastly, a modern love poem by Smith/Doorstop poet Linda Williams, published in the second issue of The North magazine in 1987, then edited solely by Peter Sansom:
Somewhere here is a poem, a modern poem
that won’t go over the top - a love poem
romantic, but not in so many words
so many words won’t do these days. Tonight
I need some analogies for your lips
something that captures the tip of your tongue -
something that holds us without being forced...
'Love Poem 87'
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The