Show the special person in your life what they truly mean to you by sending them the perfect love poem or by writing your own.
Poetry is a language of love and a deeply romantic way to communicate love. Through poetry, writers can bare their souls, reveal their heart, and confess love in a way regular conversation doesn’t allow.
The best love poems are uniquely about a love interest, like their idiosyncrasies, scars, fears, joys, and shared moments. The best love poems speak to a special connection. If you’re writing a love poem, your love will be your poem’s driving force.
Common Themes in Love Poems
- Hyperboles. Love can take an incredibly powerful hold on your entire being, so it only makes sense that poems tend to describe these feelings through exaggerated lines and lyrics.
- Sensory details. Is it the scent of a fresh rose? The tingly feeling of rainfall by your partner’s side? Is it the sweetness of wine that’s there only when you’re with them? Love poems also tend to explore significant sensory details often associated with the lover.
- Vulnerability. Expressing love is inherently vulnerable, but love poems tend to take it a step further and leave it all on the line.
7 Iconic Love Poems
Here are seven iconic love poems across time periods and brief breakdowns. Consider reading one to your partner or working its lyrics into the fabric of your affection. If you’re feeling brave—and we encourage you to—write your own and use these as inspiration.
1. “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare
Even folks who don’t know this poem know this line, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” In this infamous love poem, Shakespeare argues that his significant other is more beautiful than a summer’s day. Summer comes and goes. Sometimes summer sun is too hot, or it hides behind clouds. But his love’s beauty will never fade, especially since he is immortalizing her in a poem which can live on forever.
2. “Bird-Understander” by Craig Arnold
This poem is a perfect example of a poem that says “I love you” in the details. Craig Arnold writes, “Of many reasons I love you here is one” and goes back to an airport scene. At the airport, his lover writes of a bird trapped in the terminal and wishes someone could free the bird or understand it with more than “useless” words. Arnold writes that her words aren’t useless, that she is a bird-understander, and that he loves her so.
3. “Flirtation” by Rita Dove
Are you in the early stages of love with your partner? Rita Dove writes of enjoying the quiet and newness of “Flirtation” and walking through it together.
4. “I Love You” by Ella Wheeler Weelcox
In “I Love You,” the physicality of love is tied to the deeply connected soulfulness of love. Ella Wheeler Weelcox writes she loves his lips “when they’re wet with wine,” his eyes, his embracing arms, his hair. She writes about what she doesn’t want, cold or “bloodless” love. Then in the final stanza, she rejoices that her partner is hers, totally, in body and soul.
5. “Valentine” by Tom Pickard
Poetry is often an art of clarity, where less is more. Tom Pickard says love with just 27 words in “Valentine.” With “simplicity,” Pickard writes how much he loves his partner by weaving it into everyday life: showering, eating, sleeping.
6. “syntax” by Maureen N. McLane
This poem also makes the most from less words: 37. If you’re in love or deeply committed to someone, it may feel like your world revolves around them. Maureen N. McLane embraces that feeling in “syntax” and imagines her partner may never realize.
7. “I Am Not Yours” by Sara Teasdale
Oftentimes we hear lovers say “I am yours,” or we hear them ask “will you be mine?” This poem appears to say the opposite with Sara Teasdale naming it, “I Am Not Yours.” But really, this poem is about how much Teasdale longs to be somebody’s and how much she longs to be lost in the tempest of a great love. This poem describes the longing some feel to be completely lost in love, which can feel freeing at the same time.
Recap on Love Poems
Based on these poems, think about how you may write your own. Remember, some common themes in romantic poetry include hyperboles, sensory details, and vulnerability. Here are some questions to get you thinking.
- What grand thing does your love make you feel like? Is there a hyperbole you can use?
- What are the little things and idiosyncrasies you love about your partner?
- How do you feel in love? Do you want to be consumed by it like Teasdale in “I Am Not Yours,” or are you afraid to love?