Warning! 5 Poems NOT To Use When Wooing Your Sweetheart

Valentine’s day is a time for romance. It’s a time to make googly-eyes and whisper sweet nothings to the one you love… But let’s face it, how many of us have fallen for that–and then fallen into ruin? What many of us really need during this time of year, when the siren call is loudest, is not more sugary sweetness but a good shot of resolve! And what is a loyal friend for if not to tie you to the mast, put the wax in your ears, and give you a good splash of cold water when danger looms close?

This year, I am that loyal friend. If it’s love poetry you’re looking for, you’ve come to the wrong place. What I am providing here are poems that will harden the hearts of all but the most daring and devoted of lovers. These are not to be read by the loverly faint of heart!! (On the other hand, if you’re just getting through a break-up you’re going to LOVE these!)

  1. My Last Duchess by Robert Browning. “She had a heart, how shall I say? Too soon made glad.” Chilling and delightful. Dramatic readings of this one are particularly good, especially if you can find one by a woman.
  2. Sonnet XX by Michael Drayton. “An evil spirit, your beauty haunts me still” speaks volumes about how all of us are fools in love.
  3. Amanda Barker from Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology. A little over the top, true, but still worthy of inclusion, as it is definitely not a come-hither poem.
  4. Fire and Ice by Robert Frost. “I think I know enough of hate to say that for destruction ice is also great…” I think I know of more hearts broken by ice than fire.
  5. Here is a wound that never will heal, I know by Edna St. Vincent Millay. “But that a dream can die, will be a thrust between my ribs forever of hot pain.” Ouch.

And of course, as I was reminded earlier today, no list of angry love poems can be complete without a poem by the Bard himself; Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129. “Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight; Past reason hunted; and no sooner had, past reason hated”. It doesn’t leave much room for hope, I’m afraid.
If you want romance this Valentine’s Day there are plenty of places where you can find some good, seductive poetry, but the unromantic are a grossly underrepresented group this time of year. This list is merely a small contribution to that deserving minority.
So curl up with some of the authors mentioned above and some angry Alanis Morissett playing in the background, and have a very happy Valenti– Uh, I mean, an absolutely mundane second week of February!

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3 thoughts on “Warning! 5 Poems NOT To Use When Wooing Your Sweetheart

  1. Hate Poemby Julie SheehanI hate you truly. Truly I do. Everything about me hates everything about you. The flick of my wrist hates you. The way I hold my pencil hates you. The sound made by my tiniest bones were they trapped in the jaws of a moray eel hates you. Each corpuscle singing in its capillary hates you.Look out! Fore! I hate you.The blue-green jewel of sock lint I’m digging from under by third toenail, left foot, hates you. The history of this keychain hates you. My sigh in the background as you explain relational databases hates you. The goldfish of my genius hates you. My aorta hates you. Also my ancestors.A closed window is both a closed window and an obvious symbol of how I hate you.My voice curt as a hairshirt: hate. My hesitation when you invite me for a drive: hate. My pleasant “good morning”: hate. You know how when I’m sleepy I nuzzle my head under your arm? Hate. The whites of my target-eyes articulate hate. My wit practices it. My breasts relaxing in their holster from morning to night hate you. Layers of hate, a parfait. Hours after our latest row, brandishing the sharp glee of hate, I dissect you cell by cell, so that I might hate each one individually and at leisure. My lungs, duplicitous twins, expand with the utter validity of my hate, which can never have enough of you, Breathlessly, like two idealists in a broken submarine.

  2. Personally, I used to curl up with Emily Dickinson in my single days. "Heart! We shall forget him!" If you want to contemplate the ultimate story of a woman's unrequited love for a man, I suggest a publication of her collected letters. You may feel better about your own situation.

  3. Mark, That Julie Sheehan Hate Poem is a great one! Thank you for sharing it. It is quite…convincing, although perhaps not of what the author pretends to want us convinced. ;-)Denise, I'm with you and Emily Dickinson. I have found through her poetry that Emily–as reclusive as she was–understood humanity from the inside out better than anybody else except Shakespeare. GREAT suggestion!

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