I loved you before I was born.
It doesn't make sense, I know.

I saw your eyes before I had eyes to see.
And I've lived longing 
for your ever look ever since.
That longing entered time as this body. 
And the longing grew as this body waxed.
And the longing grows as the body wanes.
The longing will outlive this body.

I loved you before I was born.
It doesn't make sense, I know.

Long before eternity, I caught a glimpse
of your neck and shoulders, your ankles and toes.
And I've been lonely for you from that instant.
That loneliness appeared on earth as this body. 
And my share of time has been nothing 
but your name outrunning my ever saying it clearly. 
Your face fleeing my ever
kissing it firmly once on the mouth.

In longing, I am most myself, rapt,
my lamp mortal, my light 
hidden and singing. 

I give you my blank heart.
Please write on it
what you wish. 

From The Undressing: Poems by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2018 by Li-Young Lee. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

For years I have seen
dead animals on the highway
 
and grieved for them
only to realize they are
 
not dead animals
they are t shirts
 
or bits of blown tire
and I have found
 
myself with this
excess of grief
 
I have made with
no object to let
 
it spill over and
I have not known
 
where to put it or
keep it and then today
 
I thought I know
I can give it to you
 

Copyright © 2017 by Heather Christle. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 18, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

The snow,
ah yes, ah yes indeed,
is white and beautiful, white and beautiful,
verily beautiful –
from my window.
The sea,
ah yes, ah yes indeed,
is green and alluring, green and alluring,
verily alluring –
from the shore.
Love, ah yes, ah yes, ah yes indeed,
verily yes, ah yes indeed!

This poem is in the public domain.

for DMK

When I thought it was right to name my desires,
what I wanted of life, they seemed to turn
like bleating sheep, not to me, who could have been
a caring, if unskilled, shepherd, but to the boxed-in hills
beyond which the blue mountains sloped down
with poppies orange as crayfish all the way to the Pacific seas
in which the hulls of whales steered them
in search of a mate for whom they bellowed
in a new, highly particular song
we might call the most ardent articulation of love,
the pin at the tip of evolution,
modestly shining.
                                    In the middle of my life
it was right to say my desires
but they went away. I couldn’t even make them out,
not even as dots
now in the distance.  
                                         Yet I see the small lights
of winter campfires in the hills—
teenagers in love often go there
for their first nights—and each yellow-white glow
tells me what I can know and admit to knowing,
that all I ever wanted
was to sit by a fire with someone
who wanted me in measure the same to my wanting.
To want to make a fire with someone,
with you,
was all.

Copyright © 2017 by Katie Ford. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 15, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

I love you
            because the Earth turns round the sun
            because the North wind blows north
                 sometimes
            because the Pope is Catholic
                 and most Rabbis Jewish
            because the winters flow into springs
                 and the air clears after a storm
            because only my love for you
                 despite the charms of gravity
                 keeps me from falling off this Earth
                 into another dimension
I love you
            because it is the natural order of things

I love you
            like the habit I picked up in college
                 of sleeping through lectures
                 or saying I’m sorry
                 when I get stopped for speeding
            because I drink a glass of water
                 in the morning
                 and chain-smoke cigarettes
                 all through the day
            because I take my coffee Black
                 and my milk with chocolate
            because you keep my feet warm
                 though my life a mess
I love you
            because I don’t want it
                 any other way

I am helpless
            in my love for you
It makes me so happy
            to hear you call my name
I am amazed you can resist
            locking me in an echo chamber
            where your voice reverberates
            through the four walls
            sending me into spasmatic ecstasy
I love you
            because it’s been so good
            for so long
            that if I didn’t love you
            I’d have to be born again
            and that is not a theological statement
I am pitiful in my love for you

The Dells tell me Love
            is so simple
            the thought though of you
            sends indescribably delicious multitudinous
            thrills throughout and through-in my body
I love you
            because no two snowflakes are alike
            and it is possible
            if you stand tippy-toe
            to walk between the raindrops
I love you
            because I am afraid of the dark
                 and can’t sleep in the light
            because I rub my eyes
                 when I wake up in the morning
                 and find you there
            because you with all your magic powers were
                 determined that
I should love you
            because there was nothing for you but that
I would love you

I love you
            because you made me
                 want to love you
            more than I love my privacy
                 my freedom          my commitments
                      and responsibilities
I love you ’cause I changed my life
            to love you
            because you saw me one Friday
                 afternoon and decided that I would
love you
I love you I love you I love you

“Resignation” from The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968–1998 by Nikki Giovanni. Copyright compilation © 2003 by Nikki Giovanni. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Blessings for these things:
the dandelion greens I picked in summer
and would douse with vinegar and oil
at grandma’s little house in Pennsylvania,
near the river. Or the small potatoes
she would spade to boil and butter,
which I ate like fruit with greasy fingers.

Blessings for my friend, thirteen
that summer when we prayed by diving from a cliff
on Sunday mornings in the church
of mud and pebbles, foam and moss.
I will not forget the fizz and tingle,
sunning in wet skin on flat, cool rocks,
so drenched in summer.

And for you, my love, blessings
for the times we lay so naked in a bed
without the sense of turbulence or tides.
I could just believe the softness of our skin,
those sheets like clouds,
how when the sunlight turned to roses,
neither of us dared to move or breathe.

Blessings on these things and more:
the rivers and the houses full of light,
the bitter weeds that taste like sun,
dirt-sweetened spuds,
the hard bright pebbles, spongy mosses,
lifting of our bodies into whiffs of cloud,
all sleep-warm pillows in the break of dawn.

 

From New and Collected Poems: 1975-2015 by Jay Parini (Beacon Press, 2016). Reprinted with permission from Beacon Press.

Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

This passage is taken from the World English Bible and is in the public domain.

When I touch your skin and goosebumps lift,
it’s your mind that surfaces there.
When your iris tightens mechanically
around your pupil, that aperture
becomes for me the blacked-out
cockpit of your mind.
                                        It’s your mind
that touches your tongue to mine,
your mind that, when you’re driving,
lowers your hand to my thigh
almost mindlessly.
                                  Your mind
like a pilot light inside your sleep,
your mind that beats your heart—
slower, then faster—infusion pump
in the chest, flooding your mind.

But your heart is not your mind.
The curve of your hip; the soft
skin of your wrist is not your mind.
The tumor growing in your brain
is just your brain, I say.
                                         The shape
of your face; the sound of your voice,
which I love so much, is not your mind.
Your mind spills through—fire

I can’t stop watching from the far
side of this darkening valley.

Copyright © 2016 by Wayne Miller. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 16, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine—tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun. Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come—
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there—
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth—
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave—whatever happens, this is.

“Floating Poem, Unnumbered” from “Twenty-One Love Poems,” from The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974–1977 by Adrienne Rich. Copyright © 1978 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Out of your whole life give but a moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it,—so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present,—condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense—
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me—
Me—sure that despite of time future, time past,—
This tick of our life-time’s one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet—
The moment eternal—just that and no more—
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!

This poem is in the public domain.

The truth is that I fall in love
so easily because

it's easy.
It happens

a dozen times some days.
I've lived whole lives,

had children,
grown old, and died

in the arms of other women
in no more time

than it takes the 2-train
to get from City Hall to Brooklyn,

which brings me back
to you: the only one

I fall in love with
at least once every day—

not because
there are no other
 
lovely women in the world,
but because each time,

dying in their arms,
I call your name.

From Boy (University of Georgia Press, 2008). Copyright © 2008 by Patrick Phillips. Used with permission of University Georgia Press.

To have been told “I love you” by you could well be, for me,
the highlight of my life, the best feeling, the best peak
on my feeling graph, in the way that the Chrysler building
might not be the tallest building in the NY sky but is
the best, the most exquisitely spired, or the way that
Hank Aaron’s career home-run total is not the highest
but the best, the one that signifies the purest greatness. 
So improbable!  To have met you at all and then
to have been told in your soft young voice so soon
after meeting you: "I love you."  And I felt the mystery
of being that you, of being a you and being
loved, and what I was, instantly, was someone
who could be told "I love you" by someone like you. 
I was, in that moment, new; you were 19; I was 22;
you were impulsive; I was there in front of you, with a future
that hadn't yet been burned for fuel; I had energy;
you had beauty; and your eyes were a pale blue,
and they backed what you said with all they hadn't seen,
and they were the least ambitious eyes I'd known,
the least calculating, and when you spoke and when
they shone, perhaps you saw the feeling you caused.
Perhaps you saw too that the feeling would stay.

Copyright © 2016 by Matthew Yeager. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

I dreamed that I was a rose
That grew beside a lonely way,
Close by a path none ever chose,
And there I lingered day by day.
Beneath the sunshine and the show’r
I grew and waited there apart,
Gathering perfume hour by hour,
And storing it within my heart,
        Yet, never knew,
Just why I waited there and grew.

I dreamed that you were a bee
That one day gaily flew along,
You came across the hedge to me,
And sang a soft, love-burdened song.
You brushed my petals with a kiss,
I woke to gladness with a start,
And yielded up to you in bliss
The treasured fragrance of my heart;
        And then I knew
That I had waited there for you.

This poem is in the public domain. 

True Love is but a humble, low-born thing,
And hath its food served up in earthen ware;
It is a thing to walk with, hand in hand,
Through the every-dayness of this work-day world,
Baring its tender feet to every roughness,
Yet letting not one heart-beat go astray
From Beauty’s law of plainness and content;
A simple, fire-side thing, whose quiet smile
Can warm earth’s poorest hovel to a home;
Which, when our autumn cometh, as it must,
And life in the chill wind shivers bare and leafless,
Shall still be blest with Indian-summer youth
In bleak November, and, with thankful heart,
Smile on its ample stores of garnered fruit,
As full of sunshine to our aged eyes
As when it nursed the blossoms of our spring.
Such is true Love, which steals into the heart
With feet as silent as the lightsome dawn
That kisses smooth the rough brows of the dark,
And hath its will through blissful gentleness,—
Not like a rocket, which, with savage glare,
Whirrs suddenly up, then bursts, and leaves the night
Painfully quivering on the dazed eyes;
A love that gives and takes, that seeth faults,
Not with flaw-seeking eyes like needle-points,
But, loving kindly, ever looks them down
With the o’ercoming faith of meek forgiveness;
A love that shall be new and fresh each hour,
As is the golden mystery of sunset,
Or the sweet coming of the evening-star,
Alike, and yet most unlike, every day,
And seeming ever best and fairest now;
A love that doth not kneel for what it seeks,
But faces Truth and Beauty as their peer,
Showing its worthiness of noble thoughts
By a clear sense of inward nobleness,
A love that in its object findeth not
All grace and beauty, and enough to sate
Its thirst of blessing, but, in all of good
Found there, it sees but Heaven-granted types
Of good and beauty in the soul of man,
And traces, in the simplest heart that beats,
A family-likeness to its chosen one,
That claims of it the rights of brotherhood.
For Love is blind but with the fleshly eye,
That so its inner sight may be more clear;
And outward shows of beauty only so
Are needful at the first, as is a hand
To guide and to uphold an infant’s steps:
Great spirits need them not; their earnest look
Pierces the body’s mask of thin disguise,
And beauty ever is to them revealed,
Behind the unshapeliest, meanest lump of clay,
With arms outstretched and eager face ablaze,
Yearning to be but understood and loved.

This poem is in the public domain. 

translated by Sarah Arvio

To find a kiss of yours
what would I give
A kiss that strayed from your lips
dead to love

My lips taste
the dirt of shadows     

To gaze at your dark eyes
what would I give
Dawns of rainbow garnet  
fanning open before God— 

The stars blinded them
one morning in May

And to kiss your pure thighs
what would I give
Raw rose crystal  
sediment of the sun

*

[Por encontrar un beso tuyo]

Por encontrar un beso tuyo,
¿qué daría yo?
¡Un beso errante de tu boca
muerta para el amor!

(Tierra de sombra
come mi boca.)

Por contemplar tus ojos negros,
¿qué daría yo?
¡Auroras  de carbunclos irisados
abiertas frente a Dios!

(Las estrellas los cegaron
una mañana de mayo.)

Y por besar tus muslos castos,
¿qué daría yo?

(Cristal de rosa primitiva,
sedimento de sol.)

Translation copyright © 2017 by Sarah Arvio. Original text copyright © The Estate of Federico García Lorca. From Poet in Spain (Knopf, 2017). Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 25, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Sometimes I wish I didn't think in words
and that instead for each thought I thought I drew upon an image,
and that I was able to organize each image in a linear way that would be like sort of like reading
and that instead of trying to describe the edges around something
I could just think the color around the edges of the image to be darker,
that the detail on the image could become more or less detailed depending 
on how much clarity I believe I needed to disclose at the time
For instance, instead of saying love, I could just think watermelon
I could just think of a watermelon cut in half, lying open on a picnic table
The inside would be just as moist as it was pink
I could picture cutting up pieces and giving them out to my friends.
It wouldn't have to be sunny
It wouldn't have to be anything else then just that
It would really simplify my walk home at night, 
where every thought I think is some contrived line I repeat over and over to myself
Words are always just replaced with new ones
The pictures would never need to know otherwise

Copyright © 2014 by Jackie Clark. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on March 4, 2014.

if I had two nickels to rub together
I would rub them together

like a kid rubs sticks together
until friction made combustion

and they burned

a hole in my pocket

into which I would put my hand
and then my arm

and eventually my whole self––
I would fold myself

into the hole in my pocket and disappear

into the pocket of myself, or at least my pants

but before I did

like some ancient star

I’d grab your hand

Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Varrone. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 17, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

I dreamed I was a mannequin in the pawnshop window 
      of your conjectures.

I dreamed I was a chant in the mouth of a monk, saffron-robed
      syllables in the religion of You.

I dreamed I was a lament to hear the deep sorrow places
      of your lungs.

I dreamed I was your bad instincts.

I dreamed I was a hummingbird sipping from the tulip of your ear. 

I dreamed I was your ex-boyfriend stored in the basement 
      with your old baggage. 

I dreamed I was a jukebox where every song sang your name.  

I dreamed I was in an elevator, rising in the air shaft
      of your misgivings.  

I dreamed I was a library fine, I've checked you out
      too long so many times.  

I dreamed you were a lake and I was a little fish leaping
      through the thin reeds of your throaty humming.

I must've dreamed I was a nail, because I woke beside you still
      hammered.  

I dreamed I was a tooth to fill the absences of your old age.  

I dreamed I was a Christmas cactus, blooming in the desert 
      of my stupidity.

I dreamed I was a saint's hair-shirt, sewn with the thread
      of your saliva.  

I dreamed I was an All Night Movie Theater, showing the
      flickering black reel of my nights before I met you.

I must've dreamed I was gravity, I've fallen for you so damn hard.

Copyright © 2011 by Sean Thomas Dougherty. Reprinted from Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line with the permission of BOA Editions.

Not for all the whiskey in heaven
Not for all the flies in Vermont
Not for all the tears in the basement
Not for a million trips to Mars

Not if you paid me in diamonds
Not if you paid me in pearls
Not if you gave me your pinky ring
Not if you gave me your curls

Not for all the fire in hell
Not for all the blue in the sky
Not for an empire of my own
Not even for peace of mind

No, never, I'll never stop loving you
Not till my heart beats its last
And even then in my words and my songs
I will love you all over again

From All the Whiskey in Heaven by Charles Bernstein. Copyright © 2010 by Charles Bernstein. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Love enters the body 

enters 
almost 
almost completely breaks and enters into the body 

already beaten and broken 

peaceful if breaking if breaking 
and entering the already broken is peaceful 

untouchable fortunately 
untouchable.

From Is Music by John Taggart. Copyright © 2010 by John Taggart. Used by permission of the Copper Canyon Press.

How good we are for each other, walking through
a land of silence and darkness. You
open doors for me, I answer the phone for you.

I play jungle loud. You read with the light on.
Beautiful. The curve of your cheekbone,
explosive vowels, exact use of cologne.

What are you thinking? I ask in a language of touch
unique to us. You tap my palm nothing much.
At stations we compete senses, see which

comes first—light in the tunnel, whiplash down the rail.
I kick your shins when we go out for meals.
You dab my lips. I finger yours like Braille.

From The Atlantic Tunnel by Paul Farley. Copyright 2010 © by Paul Farley. Reprinted with permission of Faber and Faber.

A wave of love for you just knocked me off my chair

I will love you and love you

I will reach out my hand to you in the noise of carhorns and merengue and pull you close by the waist

I will call you my museum of everything always

I will call you MDMA

I love you ecstatic exalted sublime

I wish you were here—there's an enormous cloud sitting off in the distance

It's a beautiful walk from there to my place

I'm buzzing but the buzzer may not be working

There's a raccoon rearing on hind legs twitching its nose from behind a short fence

Let me stew you some tomatoes

As long as I keep moving the overtones don't jackhammer my skull

I am waiting for something very very good

My phone is like, what, I'm a phone

Previously published in Gulf Coast. Copyright © 2010 by Jordan Davis. Used with permission of the author.

I am yours as the summer air at evening is
Possessed by the scent of linden blossoms,

As the snowcap gleams with light
Lent it by the brimming moon.

Without you I'd be an unleafed tree
Blasted in a bleakness with no Spring.

Your love is the weather of my being.
What is an island without the sea?

Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press from Beyond Silence: Selected Shorter Poems, 1948–2003 by Daniel Hoffman. Copyright © 2003 by Daniel Hoffman.

This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 3, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
                                                                                                              I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
                               it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it

From The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara by Frank O’Hara, copyright © 1971 by Maureen Granville-Smith, Administratrix of the Estate of Frank O’Hara, copyright renewed 1999 by Maureen O’Hara Granville-Smith and Donald Allen. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

A Song to Wake Your Dear in the Morning

I kiss the locks of your hair:
Do you feel me there,
Sleepy one?

I will put a kiss on your brow:
Are you waking now?
Won't you wake, sleepy one?

A kiss on your left eye; on your right—
Closed tight, closed tight!
Oh, you are a hard one to wake!

A kiss on your nose
Where your deep breath goes,
Sleepy one!

Now a kiss for each ear:
Do you hear, do you hear?
Wake, sleepy one!

A kiss for this cheek; a kiss for this:
How many kisses you will miss!
Won't you wake?    Won't you wake?

Now I come to your lips that I love:
Oh, you are waking!    You wake and move!
Sleepy one!

Sleepy one,
My kisses are done.
Oh, you are a hard one to wake!

This poem is in the public domain.

I love too much; I am a river
   Surging with spring that seeks the sea,
I am too generous a giver,
   Love will not stoop to drink of me.

His feet will turn to desert places
   Shadowless, reft of rain and dew,
Where stars stare down with sharpened faces
   From heavens pitilessly blue.

And there at midnight sick with faring
   He will stoop down in his desire
To slake the thirst grown past all bearing
   In stagnant water keen as fire.

This poem is in the public domain.

The little river twittering in the twilight,
The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,
            This is almost bliss.

And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
All the troubles and anxieties and pain
            Gone under the twilight.

Only the twilight now, and the soft “Sh!” of the river
            That will last forever.

And at last I know my love for you is here,
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
It is large, so large, I could not see it before
Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
             Troubles, anxieties, and pains.

             You are the call and I am the answer,
             You are the wish, and I the fulfillment,
             You are the night, and I the day.
                         What else—it is perfect enough,
                         It is perfectly complete,
                         You and I.
Strange, how we suffer in spite of this!

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 29, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Come when the nights are bright with stars
    Or when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
    Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
    And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief
    Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
    Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
    And you are welcome, welcome.

From The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1913) by Paul Laurence Dunbar. This poem is in the public domain.

Come to me in the silence of the night;
    Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
    As sunlight on a stream;
       Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
    Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimful of love abide and meet;
    Where thirsting longing eyes
       Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
    My very life again though cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
    Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
       Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago!

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 11, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

 
At the touch of you,	
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,	
The arrows of delight shot through my body.	
 
You were spring,	
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me. 

 This poem is in the public domain.

How love came in I do not know,
Whether by the eye, or ear, or no;
Or whether with the soul it came
(At first) infused with the same;
Whether in part ’tis here or there,
Or, like the soul, whole everywhere,
This troubles me: but I as well
As any other this can tell:
That when from hence she does depart
The outlet then is from the heart.

This poem is in the public domain. 

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 candle-light.
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.

This poem is in the public domain.

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more we may live ever.

This poem is in the public domain.