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10 Greatest Love Poems of All Time

Kumar Paral is a writer, a culture enthusiast, and a bibliophile.

Greatest Romantic Poems of the World

Love, with its various manifestations, is the prime motive force which direct human life. Art and literature reflect on assorted forms of love in human relationships in its infinite formulations: some of them reveal primal carnal love which even alters human trajectories into unpredicted terrains, some of them unwrap platonic love which verbalize emotions devoid of intense passions or urgency for physical satiation, and others show tenderness as well as warm-heartedness which overlap with familial as well as personal relationships. This article is an attempt to list the greatest poems which express diverse forms of love in original, eloquent and enthralling manner.

This article includes greatest love poems from all over the world which transcends spatial as well as temporal demarcations. The poems are listed chronologically and an excerpt from them, from original poem or its translated version, have been included in this article.

1. "Meghadutham" ("Cloud Messenger") By Kalidasa, India

Kalidasa (c. 4th–5th century CE)

"Some opine that anyhow
during the gap of separation,
affections slowly deteriorate.
But the real thing is that
due to lack of enjoyment,
relish of affections becomes enhanced,
and the affections turn into accumulated love
immensely enjoyable at the time of union."

(An excerpt from Meghadutham, translated by Dr.Harekrishna Meher)

The poetess Ono-no Komachi in the rain

The poetess Ono-no Komachi in the rain

2. "Was I Lost" by Ono no Komachi, Japan

Ono no Komachi (825-900)

"I nodded off thinking about you
only to have your appear in my dreams.
Had I known that I slept,
I'd have never awakened!"
( Translation by Michael R. Burch)

3. "Sonnet 116" By William Shakespeare, Britain

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

"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 wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken."

(An excerpt from Sonnet 116 )

4. "A Red, Red Rose" By Robert Burns, Scotland

Robert Burns (1759 –1796)

"O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune."
(An excerpt from A Red, Red Rose)

5. " My River Runs to Thee" by Emily Dickinson, America

Emily Dickinson(1830 - 1886)

My River runs to thee —
Blue Sea! Wilt welcome me?
My River wait reply —
Oh Sea — look graciously —
I’ll fetch thee Brooks
From spotted nooks —
Say — Sea — Take Me!

6. "Love One Another" By Khalil Gibran, Lebanon

Khalil Gibran (1883 - 1931)

"Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music."

(An excerpt from Love One Another )

7. "Love Sonnet XI" By Pablo Neruda, Chile

Pablo Neruda ((1904 –1973)

"I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps."

(An excerpt from Love Sonnet XI )

José Craveirinha

José Craveirinha

8. "Just" by José Craveirinha, Mozambique

José Craveirinha (1922 - 2003)

"Love,
Not so much
Please
Now and again
take me in your arms
and wrap me in the brown and yellow caress of your desire
Now and again
so that I can forget
until morning when they come to get us
and we don’t know if we’ll be back
and if we’re man or thing
and if we can know the nature of true laughter
and if this be true or false."

(An excerpt from Just, translated from the Portuguese by Arthur Brakel)

9. "Love, Love, Love" by Lounis Aït-Menguellet, Algeria

Lounis Aït-Menguellet (1950 - )

"Nothing is softer than you
And nothing is more bitter
When I believed in you
You held your arms open
You taught me hope
My youth has remained with you
It betrayed both of us
Old age has forbidden your name."

(An excerpt from Love, Love, Love, translated from the Tamazight by Rabah Seffal)

Shu Ting

Shu Ting

10. "To The Oak" By Shu Ting, China

Shu Ting (1952 - )

"We share the chills, the storms, and the lightnings ;
We share the fogs, the mists, and the rainbows.
As if we’re always distinct,
but forever together.
This is a love that is great,
Faith and fidelity is here."

(An excerpt from To The Oak and translated by idarklight)

Sonnet - XI by Pablo Neruda

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Kumar Paral

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