30 Love Poems for Her
You know what a lot of girls dream about? Being someone’s muse: inspiring a man to some exquisite artistic expression that brings everyone- not just her- to tears. I don’t think men should feel pressured to live up to that kind of dream, but I do think guys could make a little more effort. The next best thing to writing a great love poem for your girlfriend is finding one that expresses how you feel and dedicating that already-beautiful poem to her. I promise, she won’t mind that you didn’t write it. She will appreciate the effort and the romance of the gesture. Here’s 30 love poems for her to get you started.
1Meeting at Night
By Robert Browning
This poem is about the anticipation and excitement of meeting your love in the dark of night. It really engages the senses, too.
I. The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.
II. Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
This poem sweeps you away with the beauty of the natural world, then brings it back to the equally powerful beauty and wonder of a kiss from your love.
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
3She Walks in Beauty
By Lord Byron
Byron devotes lush, lyrical words to describing his love’s beauty, and what girl wouldn’t appreciate some of that?
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
4[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
By E.E. Cummings
This is one of his best known works, a classic, viscerally moving love poem. Anyone can understand this immediately, but bookish types could analyze it all day.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
5I loved you first: but afterwards your love
By Christina Rossetti
It’s the thoughtful, poetic version of, “I love you more.” It’s also about being in awe of your lover’s heart and how they love you and make you feel loved.
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
6How Do I Love Thee?
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How many times have you heard the opening line of this poem, and yet have you ever read the rest? Browning’s words touch on the seeming limitlessness of love.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
By Wendy Cope
This is one of my all-time favorites, because it is plain and subdued, like a long-time love. The mood is so peaceful in her words, much like the peace in your heart when you know you are in love with someone special.
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I got a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
8Song: to Celia [Come, my Celia, let us prove]
By Ben Jonson
This one is subtly cheeky due to the antiquated language, but it’s a man urging his lover to sneak off and steal love’s fruit, if you will, while they have the time and opportunity to do it.
Come, my Celia, let us prove,
While we can, the sports of love;
Time will not be ours forever;
He at length our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain.
Suns that set may rise again;
But if once we lose this light,
’Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys?
Fame and rumor are but toys.
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies,
Or his easier ears beguile,
So removèd by our wile?
’Tis no sin love’s fruit to steal;
But the sweet thefts to reveal,
To be taken, to be seen,
These have crimes accounted been.
9The Planter’s Daughter
By Austin Clarke
So short. So few words. But, “And O she was the Sunday/In every week.” That line stops my heart.
When night stirred at sea
And the fire brought a crowd in,
They say that her beauty
Was music in mouth
And few in the candlelight
Thought her too proud,
For the house of the planter
Is known by the trees.
Men that had seen her
Drank deep and were silent,
The women were speaking
Wherever she went –
As a bell that is rung
Or a wonder told shyly,
And O she was the Sunday
In every week.
10Your Catfish Friend
By Richard Brautigan
You have to have a certain taste for funk and humor and whimsy to appreciate Richard Brautigan; his writing is delightfully surprising and fun at turns. This odd little poem is about the feeling of crushing on someone for a distance, admiring someone and reveling in the thought of how much you’d love her, how happy you’d make her. For a new-ish lady in your life, one with the sense of humor to appreciate this, it’s a good one.
If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, “It’s beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,”
I’d love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
and ask yourself, “I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them.
By Stephen Dunn
Is he talking about the way his lover touched him mentally and emotionally? How her actual kiss makes him so value their emotional and mental connection? Both, I’d say.
She pressed her lips to mind.
How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.
She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.
Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?
I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tongue
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,
defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.
By Tony Hoagland
In this poem, the narrator observes his love ambling out of their house to hang a windchime on the porch. It’s about observing the one you love in their plainest moments and finding that’s where you love them the most, with the greatest honesty.
She goes out to hang the windchime
in her nightie and her work boots.
It’s six-thirty in the morning
and she’s standing on the plastic ice chest
tiptoe to reach the crossbeam of the porch,
windchime in her left hand,
hammer in her right, the nail
gripped tight between her teeth
but nothing happens next because
she’s trying to figure out
how to switch #1 with #3.
She must have been standing in the kitchen,
coffee in her hand, asleep,
when she heard it—the wind blowing
through the sound the windchime
because it wasn’t there.
No one, including me, especially anymore believes
till death do us part,
but I can see what I would miss in leaving—
the way her ankles go into the work boots
as she stands upon the ice chest;
the problem scrunched into her forehead;
the little kissable mouth
with the nail in it.
13As We Are So Wonderfully Done with Each Other
By Kenneth Patchen
This one is suggestive, yes, but, “Your lips have splashed my dull house with the speech of flowers” is too gorgeous to not include this poem. The whole thing is beautiful.
As we are so wonderfully done with each other
We can walk into our separate sleep
On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak of childhood lies
O my lady, my fairest dear, my sweetest, loveliest one
Your lips have splashed my dull house with the speech of flowers
My hands are hallowed where they touched over your
It is good to be weary from that brilliant work
It is being God to feel your breathing under me
A waterglass on the bureau fills with morning . . .
Don’t let anyone in to wake us.
14Love Sonnet XVII
By Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda is one of the undisputed masters of the love poem. His words send shivers (good ones) down the spine.
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
15I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair
By Pablo Neruda
The last one was peacefully beautiful. This one is pretty wild, and expresses the consuming madness of missing someone you love. What’s most amazing to me, about Neruda’s work, is that it wasn’t originally written in English, and even translated it is so, so beautiful.
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
By Monica Ferrell
Poems like this exist because since humans have been writing, we’ve been trying, desperately, to put into words the feelings that love stirs in us. The feelings are diverse and intense and universal, and much ink has been spilled trying to put it into the perfect chain of words. I, for one, am grateful for the efforts. This is a very, very good one.
You need me like ice needs the mountain
On which it breeds. Like print needs the page.
You move in me like the tongue in a mouth,
Like wind in the leaves of summer trees,
Gust-fists, hollow except for movement and desire
Which is movement. You taste me the way the claws
Of a pigeon taste that window-ledge on which it sits,
The way water tastes rust in the pipes it shuttles through
Beneath a city, unfolding and luminous with industry.
Before you were born, the table of elements
Was lacking, and I as a noble gas floated
Free of attachment. Before you were born,
The sun and the moon were paper-thin plates
Some machinist at his desk merely clicked into place.
17Love Comes Quietly
By Robert Creeley
This one is very short, but its length is relevant: love comes quietly into our lives, yet quickly, and it changes everything so easily.
Love comes quietly,
about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
By Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney wrote a poem about picking blackberries (“Blackberry-Picking,” look it up!) that made me cry, and if that isn’t a ringing endorsement of the man’s power with words I don’t know what is, I don’t know how to convince you. But this poem is very restrained and thoughtful. He likens the way we guard ourselves and hold back with new lovers to the scaffolding that comes down when a building is complete. The end result? A strong structure, and mature love.
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
By Jonathan Wells
This poem highlights the contrast between romance and expectations and the actual, messy realities of love. Luckily for all us mortals out here, reality comes out on top as the better, more beautiful option.
Love gives all its reasons
as if they were terms for peace.
Love is this but not that
that but not this.
Love as it always was.
But there is no peace in the mountain
cleft where the fruit bats scatter
from the light.
There is no peace in the hollow when
the heat snuffs night’s blue candle.
The outline of brown leaves on
the beach is the wind’s body.
A crow is squawking at the sun
as if the screech itself is dawn.
Let me hear every perfect note.
How I loved that jasper morning.
20poem I wrote sitting across the table from you
By Kevin Varrone
This one is surreal, wild, fantastical, and might take you a few reads to get. The heart of this poem is in the deisre to exist in another world, just you and your love, in some fantasy together.
if I had two nickels to rub together
I would rub them together
like a kid rubs sticks together
until friction made combustion
and they burned
a hole in my pocket
into which I would put my hand
and then my arm
and eventually my whole self––
I would fold myself
into the hole in my pocket and disappear
into the pocket of myself, or at least my pants
but before I did
like some ancient star
I’d grab your hand
21A Drinking Song
By William Butler Yeats
Okay, yeah, he had his fair share of drinks, but the quick simplicity of this poem get me. It touches, very directly, on how love is “intoxicating” without being cliche.
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.
22At the Touch of You
By Witter Bynner
Remember your first kiss with her? How thrilling it was, how intense it was? This about sums up that feeling.
At the touch of you,
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,
The arrows of delight shot through my body.
You were spring,
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me.
By Kenneth Koch
This poem is a whimsical expression of how it feels to fall in love, really fall, feel out of control, and a little crazy as it happens.
I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut
That will solve a murder case unsolved for years
Because the murderer left it in the snow beside a window
Through which he saw her head, connecting with
Her shoulders by a neck, and laid a red
Roof in her heart. For this we live a thousand years;
For this we love, and we live because we love, we are not
Inside a bottle, thank goodness! I love you as a
Kid searches for a goat; I am crazier than shirttails
In the wind, when you’re near, a wind that blows from
The big blue sea, so shiny so deep and so unlike us;
I think I am bicycling across an Africa of green and white fields
Always, to be near you, even in my heart
When I’m awake, which swims, and also I believe that you
Are trustworthy as the sidewalk which leads me to
The place where I again think of you, a new
Harmony of thoughts! I love you as the sunlight leads the prow
Of a ship which sails
From Hartford to Miami, and I love you
Best at dawn, when even before I am awake the sun
Receives me in the questions which you always pose.
24From First Poems
By Rainier Maria Rilke
Stealing away with your lover under the cloak of night, slipping away before anyone notices so you can enjoy the beauty of the evening together. Sounds good, doesn’t it? This poem puts that feeling into this perfectly rich little verbal package.
Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.
25Let me put it this way
By Simon Armitage
This poem is not sappy. It’s cute, sort of, in a way, but if your lady isn’t the super romantic type, this might be the poem for her. I think it appeals to the tough, eye-rolling, sarcastic person in each of us. It might even make your girl laugh, if she has a certain sense of humor!
Let me put it this way:
if you came to lay
your sleeping head
against my arm or sleeve,
and if my arm went dead,
or if I had to take my leave
at midnight, I should rather
cleave it from the joint or seam
than make a scene
or bring you round.
how does that sound?
26All the Whiskey in Heaven
By Charles Bernstein
Yes, there’s definitely something masculine about this poem, something masculine about lining up all the things that won’t shake the narrator’s love, all these great big concepts that are simply no match, lining them up and then shooting them down.
Not for all the whiskey in heaven
Not for all the flies in Vermont
Not for all the tears in the basement
Not for a million trips to Mars
Not if you paid me in diamonds
Not if you paid me in pearls
Not if you gave me your pinky ring
Not if you gave me your curls
Not for all the fire in hell
Not for all the blue in the sky
Not for an empire of my own
Not even for peace of mind
No, never, I’ll never stop loving you
Not till my heart beats its last
And even then in my words and my songs
I will love you all over again
27We Manage Most When We Manage Small
By Linda Gregg
This poem suggests that love is strongest and most present in the small, mundane things: small touches, simple greetings.
What things are steadfast? Not the birds.
Not the bride and groom who hurry
in their brevity to reach one another.
The stars do not blow away as we do.
The heavenly things ignite and freeze.
But not as my hair falls before you.
Fragile and momentary, we continue.
Fearing madness in all things huge
and their requiring. Managing as thin light
on water. Managing only greetings
and farewells. We love a little, as the mice
huddle, as the goat leans against my hand.
As the lovers quickening, riding time.
Making safety in the moment. This touching
home goes far. This fishing in the air.
By James Weldon Johnson
The stuff of a classic love poem: flowers and bees, nature and creams.
I dreamed that I was a rose
That grew beside a lonely way,
Close by a path none ever chose,
And there I lingered day by day.
Beneath the sunshine and the show’r
I grew and waited there apart,
Gathering perfume hour by hour,
And storing it within my heart,
Yet, never knew,
Just why I waited there and grew.
I dreamed that you were a bee
That one day gaily flew along,
You came across the hedge to me,
And sang a soft, love-burdened song.
You brushed my petals with a kiss,
I woke to gladness with a start,
And yielded up to you in bliss
The treasured fragrance of my heart;
And then I knew
That I had waited there for you.
29Summer Morn in New Hampshire
By Claude McKay
The imagery in this poem is so rich, and the ending just grips you. Waking up missing your love is such a gut-wrenching moment, and here it is contrasted against the satisfaction of a beautiful morning clearing up after rain. Save this one for when you’re apart and want to let her know exactly how it feels to miss her.
All yesterday it poured, and all night long
I could not sleep; the rain unceasing beat
Upon the shingled roof like a weird song,
Upon the grass like running children’s feet.
And down the mountains by the dark cloud kissed,
Like a strange shape in filmy veiling dressed,
Slid slowly, silently, the wraith-like mist,
And nestled soft against the earth’s wet breast.
But lo, there was a miracle at dawn!
The still air stirred at touch of the faint breeze,
The sun a sheet of gold bequeathed the lawn,
The songsters twittered in the rustling trees.
And all things were transfigured in the day,
But me whom radiant beauty could not move;
For you, more wonderful, were far away,
And I was blind with hunger for your love.
By Kevin Young
Whatever it is that grips you about her, whatever feature, trait, or mannerism, that’s what jumps out of you and holds on to your heart. When you come to love someone, they become such a fascinating thing. It seems almost impossible that anyone could see just a person when you see someone so compelling and beautiful that you could watch her do anything in the world and be totally transfixed.
You, rare as Georgia
spell that catches
us by surprise.
The too-early blooms,
tricked, gardenias blown about,
circling wind. Green figs.
Nothing stays. I want
to watch you walk
the hall to the cold tile
night, a lifetime.
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