To start getting you in the mood for Valentine’s Day, or to give you a few ideas for poems to put into the card you’re writing for your special someone, or just as a reminder of the cheese that is out there in our weird and wonderful world, here are a few short poems about love put together from the CUB Team for you lovely CUB readers. A kind of early Valentine’s gift….
Song for the Last Act by Louise Bogan
Now that I have your face by heart, I look
Less at its features than its darkening frame
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame,
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd’s crook.
Beyond, a garden. There, in insolent ease
The lead and marble figures watch the show
Of yet another summer loath to go
Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.
Now that I have your face by heart, I look.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read
In the black chords upon a dulling page
Music that is not meant for music’s cage,
Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed.
The staves are shuttled over with a stark
Unprinted silence. In a double dream
I must spell out the storm, the running stream.
The beat’s too swift. The notes shift in the dark.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.
Now that I have your heart by heart, I see
The wharves with their great ships and architraves;
The rigging and the cargo and the slaves
On a strange beach under a broken sky.
O not departure, but a voyage done!
The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps
Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps
Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.
Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.
Love Song by Mary Carolyn Davies
There is a strong wall about me to protect me:
It is built of the words you have said to me.
There are swords about me to keep me safe:
They are the kisses of your lips.
Before me goes a shield to guard me from harm:
It is the shadow of your arms between me and danger.
All the wishes of my mind know your name,
And the white desires of my heart
They are acquainted with you.
The cry of my body for completeness,
That is a cry to you.
My blood beats out your name to me,
Your name, your name.
One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII by Pablo Neruda, translated by Mark Eisner
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that progagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
Colors passing through us by Marge Piercy
Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.
Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.
Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.
Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterfly weed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running lithe through the high grass.
Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and egg yolks,
yellow as a school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour.
Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.
Green as mint jelly, green
as a frog on a lily pad twanging,
the green of cos lettuce upright
about to bolt into opulent towers,
green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear
glass, green as wine bottles.
Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums,
bachelors’ buttons. Blue as Roquefort,
blue as Sage. Blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring
azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.
Cobalt as the midnight sky
when day has gone without a trace
and we lie in each other’s arms
eyes shut and fingers open
and all the colors of the world
pass through our bodies like strings of fire.
Love is more thicker than forget by E. E. Cummings
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky
Everything Good between Men and Women by C. D. Wright
has been written in mud and butter
and barbecue sauce. The walls and
the floors used to be gorgeous.
The socks off-white and a near match.
The quince with fire blight
but we get two pints of jelly
in the end. Long walks strengthen
the back. You with a fever blister
and myself with a sty. Eyes
have we and we are forever prey
to each other’s teeth. The torrents
go over us. Thunder has not harmed
anyone we know. The river coursing
through us is dirty and deep. The left
hand protects the rhythm. Watch
your head. No fires should be
unattended. Especially when wind. Each
receives a free swiss army knife.
The first few tongues are clearly
preparatory. The impression
made by yours I carry to my grave. It is
just so sad so creepy so beautiful.
Bless it. We have so little time
to learn, so much… The river
courses dirty and deep. Cover the lettuce.
Call it a night. O soul. Flow on. Instead.
If I Thought by Dana Schwartz
If I thought for just one moment that this would be my last breath,
I’d tell you I’ll love you forever, even beyond death.
If I thought for just one moment that your face would be the last I’d see,
I’d take a million pictures and save them just for me.
If I thought for just one moment that your voice would be the last I’d hear,
I’d listen attentively and promise not to shed a tear.
If I thought for just one moment that your touch would be the last I’d feel,
I’d embrace you and know that this has all been real.
If I thought for just one moment that my heart would beat its last beat,
I’d thank the Lord for allowing us to meet.
Love Song by Henry Dumas
I have to adore the earth:
The wind must have heard
your voice once.
It echoes and sings like you.
The soil must have tasted
It is laden with your scent.
The trees honor you
and blush when you pass.
I know why the north country
It has been trying to preserve
I know why the desert
burns with fever.
It was wept too long without you.
On hands and knees,
the ocean begs up the beach,
and falls at your feet.
I have to adore
the mirror of the earth.
You have taught her well
how to be beautiful.