Below are several love poems that I treasure. Be prepared for some quirky punctuation, capitalization, phrasing, and spacing. All are intentional.
W. B. Yeats
It's through this poem that Jackson Spey first acknowledges his feelings for Adin Swift. (The scene, which takes place at the end of Obsessed, is one of my favorites from all my books.) So of course, the poem now has even more resonance for me. Writers are loopy that way. :-)
When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.
e. e. cummings
Two pieces by an early-twentieth-century American poet. I've adored his work since I was a teenager.
i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss; i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new
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 the 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)
My favorite poem by America's most creatively supercharged spinster. There's such uncompromising ferocity as ED transforms anguish into anger into transcendent energy. A lot is going on here. Like the pun in the word bridalled; the telling switch in pronouns from "us women" to "when you hold."
Like others, I can only speculate what the poem is about: the unique martyrdom of frustrated love, and a longing for as well as rebellion against the conventions of mid-nineteenth-century marriage. Finding Mr. Right and joining with him seems to be, in ED's view, a revitalizing, swoon-inducing death sentence -- an experience that's exhilarating but ultimately stultifying. She craves it and spurns it; she both celebrates and mourns the fact she's been denied it. The final, ambiguous question is wrenching. What's "this"? The mixed blessing that is marriage, or the mixed blessing that is ED's solitary, internalized life? (Sorry for the exposition, but that's how my mind was trained to work!)
Title divine — is mine!
The Wife — without the Sign!
Acute Degree — conferred on me —
Empress of Calvary!
Royal — all but the Crown!
Betrothed — without the swoon
God sends us Women —
When you — hold — Garnet to Garnet —
Gold — to Gold —
Born — Bridalled — Shrouded —
In a Day —
"My Husband" — women say —
Stroking the Melody —
Is this — the way?