July 19


Love According to the Poets

By Odyssa

July 19, 2022

The greatest poets of our time described love and lovers through timeless pieces that we still appreciate and cherish until today.

Through these poems, I see that the exhilaration that comes with a new love is the same for everybody. We may be different from one another but love, despite its twists and turns, connects us all. 

Here's a compilation of lines from the greatest love poems of all time. 

Linked together in front of Gekko Books, a book shop in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

More often than not, love grows from admiration or attraction.  

In the same dapple of the summer caught;
Who has not suddenly thought
With swift surprise:
There walks in cool disguise, 
There comes, my heart.

The Avenue by Frances Cornford

Sometimes, we even direct this love to people we don't know yet. 

Passing stranger! you do not know
How longingly I look upon you, 
You must be he I was seeing, 
Or she I was seeking
(It comes to me as a dream)
To a Stranger by Walt Whitman

Sometimes we find a love so precious that we keep it away from the world's - or our object of affection - awareness and judgement.

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)

I Carry Your Heart with Me by E.E.Cummings

Love moves in mysterious ways as the song goes. We can only comprehend it up to the level that we can feel and give it. 

But love is such a mystery,
I cannot find it out;
For when I think I'm best resolved, 
I then am most in doubt.

I Prithee Send Me Back My Heart by Sir John Suckling

There's love we try to build despite being thousands of miles apart. 

I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices, 
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.
To the Harbormaster by Frank O'Hara

When lovers get together, finally, promises are made. 

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear;
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
Or I will love thee still, my dear, 
While the sands o' life shall run.

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

They understand one another and treat each other like home. 

He loves my heart, for once it was his own, 
I cherish his because in me it bides:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

The Bargain by Sir Philip Sydney

Their love grows from admiration to unwavering faithfulness and loyalty. 

My beloved is only water;
that always passes away, and does not deceive, 
that always passes away, and does not change, 
that always passes away, and does not end.

To the Bridge of Love by Juan Ramon Jimenez

Love, then, matures into an endless, undying bond that connects them even in the afterlife. 

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. 

How Do I Love Thee? By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

These are from one of my favorites, describing how we cannot fully comprehend and capture love's meaning. 

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

I Do Not Love You by Pablo Neruda

I hope these poems inspired and touched you as you read them. More poetry next time!

Writing from my noiseless street in Tambon Prasing, Muang, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 


About the author

Odyssa is a writer from the Philippines. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. When not working or writing at home, she's out walking their dogs. She enjoys traveling, practices yoga, gets lost in books and Korean drama. To her, making time for a daily practice or ritual is the best gift to one's self.

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