Poetry has the special ability to capture the complexities of human emotion, and perhaps no emotion is as profound and intricate as love. Love comes in many forms, often surprising us with its quiet arrival or its undeniable presence. In this collection of poems that are about love, we delve into the multifaceted nature of love as expressed by different poets throughout history.
“Love Comes Quietly”
Love comes quietly,
about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
In “Love Comes Quietly,” Robert Creeley reflects on the subtlety of love. Love, he suggests, doesn’t announce its arrival but quietly envelops us. The poet acknowledges his previous misconception that he could travel life’s journey alone and reminds the reader that love often surprises us. Its true nature is revealed in its simplicity.
“The Uses of Sorrow”
by Mary Oliver
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
Mary Oliver’s “The Uses of Sorrow” explores the idea that while love does not always have a happy ending, it is always a gift. Her verse reminds us that even in times of grief and pain, there is a valuable lesson to be learned, and sorrow can be a catalyst for growth and understanding.
by Frank O’Hara
Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth
it’s no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners
the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn’t need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water
I wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days
In “ANIMALS,” Frank O’Hara takes us on a nostalgic journey to days when youth and exuberance reigned supreme. The poem paints a picture of carefree moments when time seemed endless, and life was an adventure. It speaks to the timeless desire to recapture the vibrancy and excitement of youth and the fleeting nature of it.
“Come, and Be my Baby“
by Maya Angelou
The highway is full of big cars
going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn
Some people wrap their lies around a cocktail glass
And you sit wondering
where you’re going to turn
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
Some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow
But others say we’ve got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
What you’re gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
In “Come, and Be my Baby” Maya Angelou presents a chaotic world filled with distractions and anxieties. Amid the uncertainty, the poem offers a sense of refuge and solace. The invitation to “come and be my baby” conveys a longing for connection and intimacy in a world where people are lost and searching for meaning.
by Maggie Smith
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” reflects on the harsh realities of life and the difficult truths we frequently shield from our children. The poem acknowledges the world’s suffering while offering a glimmer of hope. It suggests that, despite the darkness, there is an opportunity to make the world beautiful. It is a call to action, an urging to preserve and protect the inherent goodness in humanity.
“Love is a fire that burns unseen . . .“
by Luís Vaz de Camões
Love is a fire that burns unseen,
a wound that aches yet isn’t felt,
an always discontent contentment,
a pain that rages without hurting,
a longing for nothing but to long,
a loneliness in the midst of people,
a never feeling pleased when pleased,
a passion that gains when lost in thought.
It’s being enslaved of your own free will;
it’s counting your defeat a victory;
it’s staying loyal to your killer.
But if it’s so self-contradictory,
how can Love, when Love chooses,
bring human hearts into sympathy?
Luís Vaz de Camões’ poem “Love is a fire that burns unseen” is a meditation on the paradoxical nature of love. It portrays love as a force that simultaneously brings joy and pain, longing and contentment, and enslavement and freedom. The poem challenges us to contemplate how love can unite the hearts of individuals despite its inherent contradictions.
In conclusion, these poems provide a glimpse into the intricate tapestry of love. Love is not a singular emotion. It is a complex amalgamation of feelings, experiences, and contradictions that shape our existence and the world around us. These poets invite us to explore the depths of love, reminding us that it is both a source of solace and a force of transformation in our lives.