Literature provides you with one of the best mediums to express your emotions, and it is through poetry that you express them the best. All poets are special because they express feelings in the most lyrical manner possible. However, there are some who make their poems escape the oblivion’s curse. Love has been a very prominent theme that has been written and read since time immemorial, and love poems know their way around hearts. Love poems are jam-packed with feelings, emotions and sentiments that touch the soul of the reader. Writing love poems is so much better than writing love letters, they stay alive forever and others can identify themselves with the love poems. It is wrong to say one love poem is better than the other because they are each unique in their own way. Yet, there are a few love poems that will touch the deepest corners of your heart on the very first read. Here is a short list of best love poems that will remain eternally alive in your hearts.
#10 I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Christina Rossetti’s short love poem “I loved you first: but afterwards your love” strikes a chord in every woman who yearns to express her love for her man. She has tried to show in just a few lines how her beloved’s love out-soared hers’s. She says without feeling shame, in an honest confession, that she was the one who fell in with him first. But now, he has surpassed her, and she does not feel any guilt in that. Who doesn’t want a man to love her more than she loves him? Even today, there are so many of us who identify ourselves with Rossetti in defining the oneness we feel with our counterparts. She does not want to measure anymore, the amount of love they share. In her love poem, she says they have both reached the level where they are not separate entities anymore, they are one.
#9 Mad Girl’s Love Song
In her very moving love poem, Sylvia Plath has enthralled us all. She is talking about a man whom she loved and has been waiting for him for years together. It has been so long since she last saw him that she feels she has made him up “inside her head”. She remembers every single moment with her man like it happened yesterday. This love poem finds its place in the hearts of all those women who have fallen in love with a man whom they now think were imaginary. Because hardly does it happen that you love a man so perfect, that you start doubting your own senses while you wait for him. This is one of Plath’s best poems and it will remain alive for many generations together.
Rabindranath Tagore is known for his songs and poems during the freedom struggle of India. But he has produced one of the best love poems of all time by writing “Unending Love”. Tagore’s beautiful poetry is all about showing the reader how love is not just a minor part of one’s individual life. There is always a greater scheme. He brings into his poem the quotient of universality. He says, in his love poem, that what he feels for the beloved has remained timelessly intact and the emotions haven’t altered a bit. But their love for each other is so much more than temporal. He brings in the cosmic into the scenario to uphold the grander scheme of things that happen in the universe, and their love is just a part of the on-goings of the macrocosm.
Throughout the poem, Lord Byron has kept the woman unnamed. We know absolutely nothing concrete about her existence or appearance in the poem, apart from the fact that she has black hair, like the raven. It is difficult to say whether Byron knew the woman or she was just a figment of imagination. Nevertheless, this stands to be one of the most often quoted poems and an example of a brilliant love poem. In comparing the lady’s beauty with that of the night, Byron is breaking new ground. Her face is bright like the stars that glow on a gloomy dark night. By the end of the poem , the reader remains perplexed whether Byron was in love with the woman or simply in awe of her.
#6 The Canonization
John Donne’s metaphysical poetry is known to shrug the reader off from his comfort zone. This poem is an epitome of asceticism in love. Donne’s unconventional love poem elevates the level of love that he feels for his beloved to the an ethereal level of sainthood. He says that he is done with people criticizing him for marrying someone younger to him (Anne More) and wanted these people to leave them be. He seeks to be “canonized for Love” so that no one ever dares to question his love or his marriage again. Being canonized, you get a license of sainthood and getting canonized for love is like getting a divine sanction for loving someone. Donne’s love poem, albeit unconventional, is by far one of jewels of English poetry.
#5 Song: to Celia
Ben Jonson is not famous for writing love poems, his forte being comedy of humors and society. But “Song: to Celia” is by far Jonson’s best poems and also one of the greatest love poems. In this poem, Jonson is showing the mystifying aura of his beloved and how enthralled he is by her. For him, his beloved’s kiss is more intoxicating than wine. He has transgressed her to the level of being superhuman but it only exemplifies how wonder-struck he is by her presence. These lines are so beautiful and an astonishing addition to English poetry, that they are often quoted by lovers these days.
#4 Annabel Lee
Edgar Allen Poe is a remarkable poet and his “Annabel Lee” is unquestioningly another amazing love poem. It is a simple, lyrical poem about innocent childhood love. Poe has masterfully shown how the persona in the poem has always been in love with Annabel Lee, even after she has died. He considers her to be his bride and finds solace near her tombstone. The sheer innocence of the love poem is what moves the reader because it was he “loved with a love that was more than love”. Out of all Edgar Allen Poe poems, “Annabel Lee” finds a special place in this list and in the hearts of the readers.
#3 The Good Morrow
John Donne finds another spot in this short list with his “The Good Morrow”. In this poem, Donne is telling his beloved that his life has found new meaning since he fell in love with her. He has found a purpose for waking up everyday, so that he can be with her again. This is the poem where he introduces the concept of the little room of love. For them, their little room is composite of the entire universe, with them being either of the hemispheres. Being an unconventional love poem, there are quite different imagery and allusions used. Donne’s love poem finds a place in the minds of the reader and leaves them with a thought-provoking question of “what thou and I / Did, till we loved?”
#2 How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote this love poem for her loving husband, Robert Browning. The sonnet is filled with beautiful lines of lyric poetry and overdosed with powerful emotions. Barrett Browning is telling her husband that her love for him knows no bounds, and finds a new surface to reach each day. She is so madly in love with him that she wishes to continue loving him even after they have died. She is asking for God’s blessings so that she be able to love him in their after-life. This is a short, pithy and crisp love poem which will linger over your head for a very long time. Also, it makes for a beautiful way of expressing your own love for your partner.
#1 One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII
Pablo Neruda poems have always been everyone’s favorite and this love poem is a class apart. Neruda has spoken in the most pleasing manner, with the right kind of words which gives you a sense of calm while moving you to a special place in your heart. In this poem, Neruda says that he knows no bounds till which he can love his beloved, giving her all the reasons why he is in love with her and how he could not help himself from falling for her. He feels a sort of magnetic energy when he is near her, and is automatically drawn to her. This is something which we might be feeling for that special someone in our lives and have never told them. This poem gives you the opportunity to go ahead and tell that person how much you love them!
Love poems have always held a special spot in English Literature because they are the best means of expressing oneself. In today’s generation people have forgotten the simple joys of writing and reading poetry just for the sake of it. This list of love poems reminds us of that time when writing poetry was the grandest of ways for expressing our feelings. I hope this list of poems works as an inspiration for all those aspiring writers and people who are still trying to express themselves to their beloveds.