It’s mid-February (yes, already) and the annual point in the calendar when love is all around – if you’re not already aware, tomorrow is the celebration of Saint Valentine. We wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to spread a little love, especially given the fact that the medium of verse has produced some of the most beautiful and incredibly romantic sentiments of all time. So to pay homage to what surely is the best way to express eternal and undying love (if music be the food of love, poetry must factor as its accompaniment), we present to you another bumper themed Featured Poem Selection.
Whether you’re loved up, want to impress a special someone or are quite happy to be your own Valentine (don’t worry, you can always fall head over heels for literature – the feelings are mutual), we hope these choices will make you feel appropriately warm and fuzzy. The shops have probably sold out of chocolate boxes anyway, so dive into something that will be equally as sweet on the tongue…
To Anthea, Who May Command Him Any Thing – Robert Herrick
An intensely passionate poem, telling of a man so completely enchanted that he will do anything for his lover – even if it causes him pain: ‘Bid me to weep, and I will weep/While I have eyes to see’ (this poem along with a companion extract from one of the greatest literary love stories ever, Jane Eyre, can be found in A Little, Aloud)
Did Not – Thomas Moore
The spark of new – and more accurately, newly confessed love – is a thrilling sensation. This poem gives a similar thrill, detailing a confession of love from sight, touch and finally – speech.
Life In A Love – Robert Browning
One half of literature’s leading real-life lovers (brought together by poetry, no less – how romantic), Robert Browning speaks of a life dedicated to love, and two lives eternally entwined.
If Thou Must Love Me – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
And here is the other half – with a poem that pleads with a lover not to pick and choose particular parts of her person to praise but instead to love ‘for love’s sake only’ (we can be assured that this is what Robert did indeed do…)
Love in The Guise of Friendship – Robert Burns
A rather painful sentiment but one which may be familiar to many; to be in love with someone who views you purely platonically. But perhaps it is not quite as bad being ‘bound’ in ‘an iron chain’ – surely there is much to be taken from the love of friendship, in some cases of more significance than what is to be taken from passionate love…?
Hidden Flame – John Dryden
Another heartwrenching poem about the sadder side of love – in this case from the female viewpoint about an untold (and perhaps unrequited?) love; the hidden flame burning strong but going unseen, and torturing its keeper.
Libido – Rupert Brooke
Because love isn’t all hearts and flowers, but about lust and physical desires also – with the heat of a ‘conqueror’s blood’…
Sonnet 116 – William Shakespeare
One of the most classic sonnets from one of the most classic writers, showing that love is not just a fleeting fancy but endures: Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds’ – we couldn’t agree more. (this poem can also be found in A Little, Aloud)
No One So Much As You – Edward Thomas
A rather bittersweet but perhaps realistic offering, detailing a somewhat unequal love affair weighted too much on one side – one loving intensely and one who cannot reciprocate to the same degree, except with gratitude.
Roses and Rue – Oscar Wilde
Two ingredients that can often, in separate circumstances, be quite integral to Valentine’s Day. A beautiful portrait of a love affair remembered in retrospect, coming with what may now be something that is evident: the warning that ‘Poets’ hearts break so’ (ah, but if they didn’t, would we have so many lovely words to break our own hearts with?)
True Love at Last – D.H. Lawrence
A little something to raise a wry smile amongst the St Valentine’s cynics – is love really true or is it all a sign of self-obsession?