Inexplicable Love Life? Six Poems That Totally Get You

At some point in our short but turbulent lives, we have all wished that we could “get more into poetry”; after all, re-blogging John Green quotes on Tumblr can only satisfy you for so long. However, poetry taunts the wanna-be scholars from a pedestal that only our professors and that obnoxious English major who somehow just gets Shakespeare can reach—but it doesn’t need to. Even the most complicated subject, our love lives, can be explained to a Taylor-Swift-T through classic poetry.

Check out these six poems to get you through those restless nights spent wondering what love is (…or to name-drop when you need to sound well-read at a dinner party).

1. LOVIN’S FOR FOOLS: “Never Give All The Heart” by W. B. Yeats

Best Lines:

“For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

Who’s It For?

For the I-don’t-need-no-man kinda woman—and hell yeah, girlfriend, you don’t! Yeats’ poem is the rational anthem of those too smart for love. And c’mon, we all know every relationship ends in heartbreak except ONE—what kind of odds are that?! I’ll take my healthy heart and skip out on the mind games, thank you very much.

2. IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD:The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot

Best Lines:

“And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?”

Who’s It For?

“Prufrock” is the ultimate poem for the over-thinker: that girl who sees a guy across the bar and plays out every. single. scenario. in her head until she’s convinced their imaginary relationship is doomed for divorce and she loses the nerve to even say hello. This J. Alfred man literally (and yes, you can say literally—it’s poetry, people) imagines his whole life, down to how he will roll his pants as an old man, while deciding whether to persue a lady or not. Take a break from your own thoughts and dip into Prufrock’s—he’s speaking your endless language!

 —

3. I’VE FALLEN AND I CAN’T GET UP: “Monkey Grip”* by Helen Garner (*from the novel Monkey Grip)

Best Lines:

“Saying what I mean
is always a mean way of saying
that I like a lot of you
or I like you a lot/more than
ever what I’m saying
or maybe your body meets mine
a lot more politely than shaking hands”

Who’s It For?

You know that moment you get on Disney’s “Tower of Terror” ride and the elevator drops? That moment when you realize this is how you’re going to die and you wonder how thousands of people do this every day? Yeah, sometimes that’s what love feels like. And when you’re falling like this—screaming bloody murder with the floor falling out from under you—you can barely put a coherent thought together. Let’s just call this poem the ultimate subtweet because Garner knows exactly how to say everything you’re thinking without really saying anything.

4. ‘CAUSE YOU KNOW I LOVE THE PLAYERS…:They Flee From Me” by Sir Thomas Wyatt

Best Lines:

“They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.”

Who’s It For?

We’ve all had that boy who went to bed as a dream and woke us up as a nightmare: the boy who turns his read receipts on but doesn’t text you back after what seemed like the best date of your life. No matter what he took from you, the world seems a little less dazzling and a lot more lonely than it did before he used you, and Sir Thomas Wyatt feels your pain.

 — 

5. DRUNK IN LOVE: “One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” by Pablo Neruda

Best Lines:

“I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.”

Who’s It For?

This. Is. It. Romeo and Juliet, Noah and Allie, Ross and Rachel, and now you and him. This is love, love, love. When you’re in this deep, you can spend night after night awake just trying to grasp the beauty of it, but Neruda puts it in a way most of us probably never could. With a poem this delicate, who wouldn’t love to be in love?

 —

6. THE LOVE POEM FOR EVERY TWENTY-SOMETHING: “Novel” by Arthur Rimbaud

Best Lines:

“You’re in love. Off the market till August.
You’re in love.—Your sonnets make Her laugh.
Your friends are gone, you’re bad news.
—Then, one night, your beloved, writes…!

That night…you return to the blinding cafés;
You order beer or lemonade…
—No one’s serious at seventeen
When lindens line the promenade.

Who’s It For?

If you’ve ever wanted a French bad boy to sweep you off your feet (and onto his Vespa), Arthur Rimbaud is your foreign James Dean. The dangerously cute poet (like Leo-DiCaprio-played-him-in-a-movie cute) writes of the young soul’s ever-changing lust for mad love, apathy, and resurgent desire. After all, no one is serious at seventeen…or eighteen, or nineteen, or twenty. Rimbaud nails the mood of our generation on the head: sometimes we’re careless, sometimes we’re insane, and sometimes we’re desperately sincere—but we’re always feeling something new.

 

Featured Image: Amelia Kramer

Madison O'Shields

Contributor, University of Texas at Austin Major: English Her heart belongs to: Burberry Coats, Breakfast Tea, and the BBC You can find her: attempting to dress like Blaire Waldorf but reverting back to her zebra onesie pajamas instead

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

css.php