Just the other day Teresa asked me if I know of any good love poems. You would think that I would have an answer to that questioning considering I have an English degree. I can come up with a few big names like William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. However, the more I think about the answer to that question the less I know about love poetry. This subject has the potential to be diverse and never-ending. Are we talking about the love for another person? This could be a lover, a friend, a child, a mother, a father, a pet and the list doesn’t stop there. Or are we talking about love for the divine? This could be the love of God, Jesus, vast selflessness, Mary, Muhammad, the Pope, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the list goes on. There are so many types and ways of loving that it is difficult to pick a really great love poem. Essentially isn’t every poem a love poem? To express oneself to others on an intimate level is quite profound. This intimacy is true everlasting love stripped down and naked for everyone to see. So, without further discussion of love poetry, here is one of my favorites…
by John Donne
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
Me it sucked first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.
Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed and mariage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, we are met,
And cloisterd in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.