ten love poems

JUNE JORDAN
Poem for Haruko

in which the memories of love become love, and the process of having loved becomes your body.

                        How easily you held
my hand
beside the low tide
of the world

FRANK O’HARA
Having a Coke with You

the very first poem I memorized, and which for me will always materialize in sunned-out afternoons smelling like sprigs of new-flower and hand-holding during a lunch hour.

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time

ANDRÉS NEUMAN
The Things We Don’t Do

the life you live with another becoming sweetly mysterious; possibilities turning to reality just by being thought. it is strange and wonderful to be with someone, when they turn all those spare moments into ideas.

I like the languages we wish we spoke and dream of learning next year, as we smile at each other in the shower. I hear from your lips those sweet, hypothetical languages: their words fill me with purpose.


REGINALD SHEPHERD
You, Therefore

the love poem is the writer’s way to test the limits of language. it is to reconcile the absolute with the daily, the supreme with the common. it is to rein in all the wonders our senses receive, all these splendid and pure totems of beauty from our real world, to celebrate them in conjunction with another, to give them away.

and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees   
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you)

BEN JONSON
to Celia

the poem to be read aloud.

Or leave a kiss but in the cup, 
         And I’ll not look for wine. 

GARY SNYDER
Four Poems for Robin

the loneliest love poems are not to be pitied. they are a reckoning with the past, a reconciliation. they are to fold the gaps and failures of time, to bring the gone back into the arms of the present, and thereby, into oneself.

I dont mind   living this way   
Green hills   the long blue beach   
But sometimes   sleeping in the open
I think back   when I had you.

LI-YOUNG LEE
Adore

love as being always between.

You and I, eye
to eye, are born. 
But such refraction, multiplying gazes, strews
Love’s eye upon the objects of the world,
as upon the objects of our room. 


ADRIENNE RICH
Twenty-One Love Poems [Poem II]

the poem is to give beauty everlasting life.

You’ve kissed my hair
to wake me. I dreamed you were a poem,
I say, a poem I wanted to show someone . . .
and I laugh and fall dreaming again
of the desire to show you to everyone I love,


GWENDOLYN BROOKS
when you have forgotten Sunday: the love story

of the day infinite sprawled at the bed’s ends.

And how we finally undressed and whipped out the light and flowed into bed,
And lay loose-limbed for a moment in the week-end
Bright bedclothes,
Then gently folded into each other—


WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
Asphodel, that Greeny Flower

there is nothing hyperbolic when I say that this poem taught me the vital, primary lessons about love.

It was the love of love,
the love that swallows up all else,
a grateful love,


a love of nature, of people,
of animals,
a love engendering


gentleness and goodness
that moved me
and that I saw in you.

shelly shan

hi, my name is shelly. I do a thing where I make words into unnecessarily emotional composites. I don't know why I'm allowed on the internet, but I like it here.