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!)
- 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.
- Sonnet XX by Michael Drayton. “An evil spirit, your beauty haunts me still” speaks volumes about how all of us are fools in love.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!