Ah, yes, it is that time of year again. Valentine’s Day is almost here. Roses, chocolates, big red hearts, perhaps a candlelight dinner for two, a bottle of wine, soft music…and of course, love poems.
Surely the great Greek philosopher, Plato, was right when he said: “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.” The history of literature proves this out, as love is the number one most visited subject of poetry (with death coming in at a close second).
There are so many great love poems. Here are excerpts from ten of the world’s most famous. See if you can identify the poets who penned them (Don’t cheat! Answers—which you should cover up for now— are listed at the very end of this column):
1. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”
2. “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…”
3. “She walks in beauty, like the night/Of cloudless climes and starry skies…”
4. “I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz…I love you as certain dark things are to be loved…”
5. “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in/my heart)i am never without it (anywhere…”
6. “With the Beloved’s water of life, no illness remains/In the Beloved’s rose garden of union, no thorn remains…”
7. “Let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running book that sings its melody to the night…To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving…”
8. “Wild nights! Wild nights!/Were I with thee/Wild nights should be/Our luxury!”
9. “When she rises in the morning/I linger to watch her;/She spreads the bath-cloth underneath the window/And the sunbeams catch her/Glistening white shoulders…”
10. “I am my lover’s, and he desires me./Come, my darling,/let us go out into the fields/and spend the night in villages./Let us wake early and go to the vineyards/and see if the vine is in blossom./There I will give you my love…”
If you got 10 out of 10 correct, you deserve a kiss! Have a passionate, thrilling Valentine’s Day.
Answers: 1 .Elizabeth Barrett Browning 2. William Shakespeare 3. Lord Byron 4. Pablo Neruda 5.e.e.cummings 6. Rumi 7. Khalil Gibran 8. Emily Dickinson 9. D.H. Lawrence 10. from “The Song of Solomon” in the Bible
Address poem submissions and correspondence to: email@example.com or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).