I have two. Ranbindranath Tagore's longest distance in the world
and a red red rose by Robert Burns
Who can help me and give the rest?
I want the classic and famous romantic love poems.
There are so many, it's hard to choose a top 10. One person's list might be quite different from another's. That Tagore poem is not at all the style of poetry I like, but others may well find it inspiring and romantic. Everyone's entitled to follow their own taste.
What do you plan to do with them all Shawtsai?
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2008 07:43PM by IanAKB.
It's okay. I'd like to hear others' opinions.
There are so many, it's hard to choose a top 10.
One person's list might be quite different from
another's. That Tagore poem is not at all the
style of poetry I like, but others may well find
it inspiring and romantic. Everyone's entitled to
follow their own personal taste.
What do you plan to do with them all Shawtsai?
I'd go for 'The Wife A-Lost' by William Barnes, 'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' by Yeats and 'Most Like an Arch, this Marriage' by John Ciardi - but I'm idiosyncratic!
I'm always struck by the dedication and blindness to her faults that Shakespeare's speaker carries for his lover in Sonnet 130.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
While the sonnet was written as a parody of standard love poems of Shakespeare's day, which idealized women and romance, the closing couplet is a tribute to what true love is all about.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2008 08:10AM by hpesoj.
I first read this at seventeen, reeling from the first of many romantic and sexual rejections: but it remains first and foremost a love poem - love which embraces rejection. It's by e e cummings:
it may not always be so;and i say
that if your lips,which i have loved,should touch
another's,and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart,as mine in time not far away;
if on another's face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as i know,or such
great writhing words as,uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;
if this should be,i say if this should be-
you of my heart,send me a little word;
that i may go unto him,and take his hands,
saying,Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face,and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.
Marian, Joseph, Stephen, thank you for such interesting and beautiful choices!
That e e cummings poem particularly is a reminder what a surprising, enduringly fresh and original poet he was.
For another song "terribly afar in the lost lands", there's this W S Merwin translation from Pablo Neruda:
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, 'The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.
This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.
Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
And for gender balance, here's Lady Augusta Gregory's translation of her selection of stanzas from the long, anonymous Irish folk poem 'Donal Og' [Young Donald]
It is late last night the dog was speaking of you;
the snipe was speaking of you in her deep marsh.
It is you are the lonely bird through the woods;
and that you may be without a mate until you find me.
You promised me, and you said a lie to me,
that you would be before me where the sheep are flocked;
I gave a whistle and three hundred cries to you,
and I found nothing there but a bleating lamb.
You promised me a thing that was hard for you,
a ship of gold under a silver mast;
twelve towns with a market in all of them,
and a fine white court by the side of the sea.
You promised me a thing that is not possible,
that you would give me gloves of the skin of a fish;
that you would give me shoes of the skin of a bird;
and a suit of the dearest silk in Ireland.
When I go by myself to the Well of Loneliness,
I sit down and I go through my trouble;
when I see the world and do not see my boy,
he that has an amber shade in his hair.
It was on that Sunday I gave my love to you;
the Sunday that is last before Easter Sunday.
And myself on my knees reading the Passion;
and my two eyes giving love to you for ever.
My mother said to me not to be talking with you today,
or tomorrow, or on the Sunday;
it was a bad time she took for telling me that;
it was shutting the door after the house was robbed.
My heart is as black as the blackness of the sloe,
or as the black coal that is on the smith's forge;
or as the sole of a shoe left in white halls;
it was you that put that darkness over my life.
You have taken the east from me; you have taken the west from me;
you have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me;
and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!
For a poem of sheer celebration of love: 'A Birthday' by Christina Rossetti.
For romance as pure and simple and joyful as childhood: 'The Owl and the Pussycat' by Edward Lear.
For romance of the fairytale, Age of Chivalry, "tirra lirra by the river" kind: 'The Lady of Shalott' by Tennyson.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/03/2008 03:17AM by IanAKB.
Shawtsai, it's time we had a contribution or response from you. I'm worried about you!
It's not often anyone mentions just two love poems and then asks to be given "the rest".
Even asking for "the classic and famous" ones sounds strange, because of your assumptions about such categories. Any poem widely famous that everyone considers a classic must be easy for you to find in an anthology or on the Internet. It's the lesser known poems of quality that are most interesting. But this is a sensitive subject. People may be shy about sharing their best favourites with a stranger.
Are you writing a treatise on the subject, or are you looking for something with which to woo someone, or are you wounded in love, or what? What's your special interest?
How did Elizabeth Barret Browning's "How Do I Love Thee" not make the list?
How Do I Love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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 candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a 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.
Another favorite of mine.
by Ezra Pound (1885-1972)
"Thank you, whatever comes." And then she turned
And, as the ray of sun on hanging flowers
Fades when the wind hath lifted them aside,
Went swiftly from me. Nay, whatever comes
One hour was sunlit and the most high gods
May not make boast of any better thing
Than to have watched that hour as it passed.
Thanks, Joe for that beautiful contribution.
Here's a favourite of mine in the 'Erat Hora' mode:
On the Road
Our roof was grapes and the broad hands of the vine
as we two drank in the vine-chinky shade
of harvest France;
and wherever the white road led we could not care,
it had brought us there
to the arbour built on a valley side where time,
if time any more existed, was that river
of so profound a current, it at once
both flowed and stayed.
We two. And nothing in the whole world was lacking.
It is later one realizes. I forget
the exact year or what we said. But the place
for a lifetime glows with noon. There are the rustic
table and the benches set; beyond the river
forests as soft as fallen clouds, and in
our wine and eyes I remember other noons.
It is a lot to say, nothing was lacking;
river, sun and leaves, and I am making
words to say ‘grapes’ and ‘her skin’.
Bernard Spencer (1909-1963)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2008 07:49PM by IanAKB.
Beautiful poem, Ian. You've introduced me to a poet with whom I'm not familiar. I shall be reading more of Spencer's works now thanks to your post.
PS: I wonder if shawtsai ever returned to this site to view the responses.
I am forever haunted by one dread,
That I may suddenly be swept away,
Nor have the see you, nor to say
Good-bye; then this is what I would have said:
I have loved summer and the longest day;
The leaves of June, the slumbrous film of heat,
the bees, the swallow, and the waving wheat,
The whistling of the mowers in the hay.
I have loved words that lift the soul with wings,
Words that are windows to eternal things,
I have loved souls that to themselves are true,
Who cannot stoop and know not how to fear,
Yet hold the talisman of pity's tear:
I have loved these because I have loved you.
Vale, by Maurice Baring.
Thanks for that beautiful, contribution, Sopotra.
For the sake of Poetry, please can you use the Edit Post button and correct one major omission in the version you have posted: in line 3 the words "leave to" should be inserted before "see you".
Also, I think the word "nor" in line 3 should read "and".
Where did you get your copy from? I ask because I think it contains some other departures from the original by Maurice Baring, though I'm not sure, because my only source (an article reproducing the poem in the New York Times of September 17, 1911) may be the one that has errors.
According to the NYT, Baring spelled "summer" with an upper case "Summer", and wrote "slumberous", not "slumbrous", and wrote "which" instead of "that" in line 9.
Whittemore in his recent book "The Monument" asserts that the Dark Lady is Elizabeth and the author is the 17th Earl of Oxford, a famous nobleman/poet who hid his identity under the pseudonym of William Shakespeare. Elizabeth and Oxford were lovers and in 1574 Elizabeth bore their child who was put out to nurse and then forced into the family of the 2d Earl of Southhampton, whom he later succeeded as the very rich 3rd Earl, Henry Wriothesley ("Risley") the W. H. to whom the Sonnets were dedicated. The first 27 sonnets celebrate Oxford's love for his bastard son whom he tries to make E.'s successor. So do Essex and Southhampton independently, Essex, a likely lover of E. is executed, and Southhampton is sentenced to death for Treason, and each day of his imprisonment is celebrated in the next 100 osonnets. The timing of 130 is a few days before S.'s long-delayed execution. Oxford is furious at E. who is old, and ugly, and has not slept in days, and he slanders her mercilessly. A few days later, E. dies, James V. of Scotland is E.'s heir. He pardons S. and S. and O. promise on pain of death to conceal the secret. O. who has been scribbling furiously to create a poetic monument to his royal son to whom he promises immortality through his powerful poetry that will outlet crests and brazen tombs (like Henry VII's).
A great tale -- "if this be error and against me proved, I never writ, and no man ever loved." (S. 116). Great love poetry -- paternal rather than homosexual (as often suspected). The Dark Lady sonnets combined hatred and begging. Well worth studying in my opinion. Whittemore knows his Shakespeare, but no mature Shakespeare scholar can afford to believe it. Young scholars however can knock it or applaud it, produce volumes of criticism and notice things that mature, clapped-out professors have missed or misinterpeted. The beat goes on.