Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Poems, Love Songs: Gifts for Valentine's Day

I’ll be back on Monday to post a special Valentine’s Day blog with a giveaway. Until then, here are five of my favorite love poems and five favorite love songs, a gift for each day from now through Valentine’s Day.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
by e. e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Time in a Bottle, Jim Croce

Wild Nights – Wild Nights! (249) by Emily Dickinson

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

 Rowing in Eden –
 Ah, the sea!
 Might I moor – Tonight –
 In thee!

Let me not to the marriage of true minds (Sonnet 116)

by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love ’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Dan Fogelberg, Longer

The Kiss by Stephen Dunn

She pressed her lips to mind.
                      —a typo

How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.
She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.

Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?

I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tongue
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,

defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.

Maybe I’m Amazed, Paul McCartney

San Antonio  by Naomi Shihab Nye

Tonight I lingered over your name,
the delicate assembly of vowels
a voice inside my head.
You were sleeping when I arrived.
I stood by your bed
and watched the sheets rise gently.
I knew what slant of light
would make you turn over.
It was then I felt
the highways slide out of my hands.
I remembered the old men
in the west side cafe,
dealing dominoes like magical charms.
It was then I knew,
like a woman looking backward,
I could not leave you,
or find anyone I loved more.

You Give Me Love, Martraca Berg (couldn't find a video for this one)

You turn around

Then you ask me behind tears of doubt
Just what do I see in you
Please don't cry
I know sometimes it seems we barely get by
But you don't see how much you do
To get me through

When the world is cold
And I need a friend to hold
You give me love ... you give me love

And when my hope is gone
And I feel I can't go on
You pick me up
You give me love give me love

I apologize
If I never told you what you are in my eyes
Oh baby,let me tell you now
Looks sweeter knowing you'll be there in every way
Now how can you say that's not enough

'Cause when the world is cold
And I need a friend to hold
You give me love give me love

And when my hope is gone
And it's feels I can't go on
You pick me up
You give me love give me

Everything my heart desires
Morning sun and midnight fires
Someone there to share my dreams
With you I have everything

When the world is cold
And I need a friend to hold
You give me love give me love

And when my hope is gone
And I feel I can't go on
You pick me up
You give me love

What are your favorite love poems? Your favorite love songs?


irisheyes said...

After reading your picks I think I'm changing my mind about my favorite :) The Kiss by Stephen Dunn in really hot!!!

Anyway, I'm not well versed in poetry, as you know, so the ones I do know are most probably the ones everyone knows! Not very original but I do love Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portugeuse:

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 everyday'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 thee with the 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.

I know the first few lines are the most famous but I like the ones I italicized. They seem to resonate with me for some reason.

As for the songs - wow that's gonna be a hard one. I'll have to think about that :)

MsHellion said...

I owe my English degree to two hot men: Lord Byron and John Keats.

She walks in beauty like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies
and all that's best of dark and bright
meet in her aspect and her eyes
thus mellowed to that tender light
which heaven to gaudy day denies

One shade the more, one ray the less
had half impaired that nameless grace
which waved in every raven tress
or softly lightened o'er her face
where thoughts serenely sweet express
how dear, how pure their dwelling place

And on that cheek and o'er that brow
so soft so calm yet eloquent
the smiles that win, the tints that glow
but tell of days in goodness spent
a mind at peace with all below
a heart who's love is innocent

--And I apologize about typos, because I'm tried to type it from memory rather than googling. If I got it right (not likely) then I want to make it known, I typed this from memory.

As for John Keats--it was Ode on a Grecian Urn, which I did NOT memorize, but the final two lines are

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.

Then there is a: A thing of beauty is a joy forever; it's loveliness increases, it will never pass into nothingness, but will keep a quiet bower for us.... *sighs*

And my favorite pick up line is by Thomas Moore:

I've oft been told by learned friars
that wishing and the crime are one
and heaven punishes desires
as much as if the deed were done.

If heaven damns us, you and I
are damned to all our heart's content,
come then at least we may enjoy
some pleasure for our punishment.

quantum said...

Two poems that immediately came to mind are both very famous I think, otherwise I doubt that I would know of them.

I'm sure that I have heard the Johnson poem as a song somewhere, so it can count for both!

I admit to googling for details of both. I find them extremely beautiful though and am happy to count them as favorites! *smile*

by: William Shakespeare
"To His Love (Sonnet 18)"

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:-

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

To Celia
by Ben Jonson

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself but thee!

irisheyes said...

Wow, really amazing poems. And I actually know them. I guess I know more poetry than I thought!

As for songs I'd have to go with my 2 standards -

The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra
More by Bobby Darin

Probably because those are the 2 songs the DH and I dance to a lot. Every time we are at a function with a DJ or band he always requests them and then sings them to me while we dance. Or sometimes we just put them on at home and dance in the family room.

We are a very music oriented family. We have music playing almost all the time, whether it's the kids music or ours. The DH put on the Savage Garden song you picked, Janga, just last night. It is a favorite!

Janga said...

Isn't "The Kiss" wonderful, Irish? And I love the Barrett Browning sonnet too.

I had a hard time limiting my choices. John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning is an old favorite, and I've lost count of how many people I've introduced to "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps" by Galway Kinnell, a love poem on multiple levels.

Janga said...

Here's a link to the Kinnell poem:

Janga said...

Hellion, I fell in love with Byron early, but my affection for Keats has been more lasting. He and Blake are the Romantics I still read.

The Thomas Moore poem made me laugh. Thanks for sharing it.

Janga said...

Q, Sonnet 18 was always one of my favorites to teach. I loved teaching 130 too, although with that one I always battled to get my students past the idea that the speaker was dissing his beloved.

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 damasked, 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.

Janga said...

Irish, I often marvel at the ability of a song to take us back to a moment and a memory. Trisha Yearwood's "The Song Remembers When," although not a happy love song, is one of my all-time favorites because it captures the power of a song to evoke a time and place.

I was standin' at the counter,
I was waitin' for the change
When I heard that old familiar music start.
It was like a lighted match
Had been tossed into my soul;
It was like a dam had broken in my heart.

After taking ev'ry detour,
Gettin' lost and losin' track,
So that even if I wanted
I could not find my way back,
After drivin' out the mem'ry
Of the way things might have been,
After I'd forgotten all about us,
The song remembers when.

We were rolling through the Rockies;
We were up above the clouds
When a station out of Jackson played that song.
And it seemed to fit the moment,
And the moment seemed to freeze
When we turned the music up and sang along.

And there was a God in Heaven,
And the world made perfect sense.
We were young and were in love
And we were easy to convince.
We were headed straight for Eden.
It was just around the bend,
And though I have forgotten all about it,
The song remembers when.

I guess somethin' must have happened,
And we must have said goodbye.
And my heart must have been broken,
Though I can't recall just why.
The song remembers when.

Well, for all the miles between us
And for all the time that's passed,
You would think I haven't gotten very far.
And I hope my hasty heart
Will forgive me just this once
If I stop to wonder how on earth you are.

But that's just a lot of water
Underneath a bridge I burned,
And there's no use in backtrackin'
Around corners I have turned.
Still I guess some things we bury
Are just bound to rise again,
For even if the whole world has forgotten,
The song remembers when.

Yeah, and even if the whole world has forgotten,
The song remembers when.

MsHellion said...

Janga, that's probably my favorite song by Trisha Yearwood. It's so weird, but it's a song about a song that makes you stop and listen, takes you back, and the song itself is one that every time I hear it, I stop and stare at nothing, just singing along with words and thinking of the past. (This is a problem if I'm driving, as you can imagine. *LOL*)

MsHellion said...

I agree--Keats has been more lasting for me than Byron, but I know I have Byron to thank for introducing me to poetry that was more than about death and trees. I remember how excited I was when I read my first poem by him--not in an English class--called So We'll Go No More A-Rovin'--and I realized, 'This is about sex!' and I was completely hooked. Lord Byron is why I love rakes so. *LOL* Even though I never would have wanted to date him. *LOL*

Thomas Moore had another poem that made me laugh...I'll have to see if I can find it and post it. It's a love poem so it'd fit here.

MsHellion said...

The time I've lost in wooing,
In watching and pursuing
The light that lies
In woman's eyes,
Has been my heart's undoing.
Tho' Wisdom oft has sought me,
I scorn'd the lore she brought me,
My only books
Were women's looks,
And folly's all they taught me.

Her smile when Beauty granted,
I hung with gaze enchanted,
Like him the Sprite
Whom maids by night
Oft meet in glen that's haunted.
Like him, too, Beauty won me;
But when the spell was on me,
If once their ray
Was turn'd away,
O! winds could not outrun me.

And are those follies going?
And is my proud heart growing
Too cold or wise
For brillant eyes
Again to set it glowing?
No -- vain, alas! th' endeavour
From bonds so sweet to sever: --
Poor Wisdom's chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.

Keira Soleore said...

This post and comments give me such pleasure. I'm a huge fan of the romantic poets.

That Shakespeare sonnet? I can still recite it sight unseen having learned it and loved it in high school.

Janga said...

Hellie, I can see I need to read more of Thomas Moore. I confess that I know more about him than about his work, which I tend to think of in terms of syrupy song lyrics such as "The Last Rose of Summer."

Janga said...

Thanks, Keira. I love the term "know by heart" to describe poems that I loved and memorized. It sounds as if you truly know by heart that sonnet by Shakespeare.

MsHellion said...

Thomas Moore was probably writing commercially to his market--can we really fault him for that?

Janga said...

MsHellion said...
Thomas Moore was probably writing commercially to his market--can we really fault him for that?

you're right, Hellie, and I'm the last person to fault someone for writing to his/her market. But I think the sentimental lyric that appealed to an earlier audience sounds excessive to many modern readers. It's that sentimentality that lends itself to mockery by a more cynical audience. I bet more readers know Moore's "Believe Me If All These Endearing Young Charms" through its use in cartoons than through other means.