husband and wife on valentine's day in an article about romantic valentine's day poems
Brothers91/E+/Getty Images

17 Romantic Poems To Make Your Partner Melt On Valentine's Day

These words are like magic.

Originally Published: 

If your kids have been sick for what feels like every week of the new year and you’re trying to cram work and errands in where you can, it’s understandable that Valentine’s Day may creep up on you (aka you forget a to buy a card or present). Whether a gift slips your mind or you want something less milk chocolate and more heartfelt, these Valentine's Day love poems for your wife (or your husband or partner) will say everything you’ve been wanting to express, even if you don’t fancy yourself a wordsmith.

You and your partner have no doubt been through some, shall I say, *stuff* these past few years. Even if you don’t typically do much for Valentine’s Day, the holiday is a good opportunity to show gratitude and love for your partner, and it doesn’t have to take more than a printed out poem from the internet.

We can’t all be poets, but anyone can take the moving words of a poem and write it out by hand or read it out loud (or, let's face it, copy and paste it into a sweet Valentine’s Day text because it's the thought that counts, right?). Bonus points if you buy the poet’s book as a small but meaningful gift to go along with the poem. And don’t forget, writing a short and sweet note of your own goes a long way as well. Here, you’ll find 17 of the most romantic Valentine’s Day love poems to show your loved one what they mean to you.


“Two Countries” by Naomi Shihab Nye

This beautiful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye is perfect to send your long distance valentine. You can’t top the line “love means you breathe in two countries,” and should you choose to read this one aloud to your lover, it’s satisfying to read because of the subtle rhyme scheme.

Skin remembers how long the years grow

when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel

of singleness, feather lost from the tail

of a bird, swirling onto a step,

swept away by someone who never saw

it was a feather. Skin ate, walked,

slept by itself, knew how to raise a

see-you-later hand. But skin felt

it was never seen, never known as

a land on the map, nose like a city,

hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque

and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope.

Skin had hope, that's what skin does.

Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.

Love means you breathe in two countries.

And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass,

deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own.

Even now, when skin is not alone,

it remembers being alone and thanks something larger

that there are travelers, that people go places

larger than themselves.


“Bird-Understander” by Craig Arnold

After reading the poem “Bird-Understander” by Craig Arnold, you may get inspired to think of one of the small and tender things your partner does that you love and admire. After all, it’s often the small things, like empathizing with a bird trapped in the airport.

Of many reasons I love you here is one

the way you write me from the gate at the airport

so I can tell you everything will be alright

so you can tell me there is a bird

trapped in the terminal all the people

ignoring it because they do not know

what to do with it except to leave it alone

until it scares itself to death

it makes you terribly terribly sad

You wish you could take the bird outsideand set it free or (failing that)

call a bird-understander

to come help the bird

All you can do is notice the bird

and feel for the bird and write

to tell me how language feels impossibly useless

but you are wrong

You are a bird-understander

better than I could ever be

who make so many noises

and call them song

These are your own words

your way of noticing

and saying plainly of not turning away

from hurt

you have offered them

to me I am only

giving them back

if only I could show you

how very useless

they are not


“love is more thicker than forget” by E.E. Cummings

E.E. Cummings is known for poems that defy grammar and syntax, and this love one is no exception. It’s a fun way to share the ways you think of love, and arguably the most important line is “it cannot die.”

love is more thicker than forget

more thinner than recall

more seldom than a wave is wet

more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly

and less it shall unbethan all the sea which only

is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win

less never than alive

less bigger than the least begin

less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly

and more it cannot die

than all the sky which only

is higher than the sky


“Love Poem With Apologies For My Appearance” by Ada Limón

Anyone who has spent a lazy, long weekend with their partner can relate to this lovely and true Ada Limón poem that beautifully captures what it means to feel completely comfortable and “unencumbered by beauty’s cage” when you’re with your spouse.

Sometimes, I think you get the worst

of me. The much-loved loose forest-green

sweatpants, the long bra-less days, hair

knotted and uncivilized, a shadowed brow

where the devilish thoughts do their hoofed

dance on the brain. I’d like to say this means

I love you, the stained white cotton T-shirt,

the tears, pistachio shells, the mess of orange

peels on my desk, but it’s different than that.

I move in this house with you, the way I move

in my mind, unencumbered by beauty’s cage.

I do like I do in the tall grass, more animal-me

than much else. I’m wrong, it is that I love you,

but it’s more that when you say it back, lights

out, a cold wind through curtains, for maybe

the first time in my life, I believe it.


“Hummingbird” by Raymond Carver

Sometimes the best love poems are short and sweet (and quick to hand-write inside a card). This beautiful, petite poem by celebrated poet, Raymond Carver, is a lovely way to remind your husband, wife, or significant other about just how much they’re loved.

Suppose I say summer,

write the word “hummingbird,”

put it in an envelope,

take it down the hill

to the box. When you open

my letter you will recall

those days and how much,

just how much, I love you.


"Looking at Each Other" by Muriel Rukeyser

FluxFactory/E+/Getty Images

Perhaps best known for her poems about feminism, social justice and Judaism, Muriel Rukeyser also wrote one stunning love poems, like "Looking at Each Other" (particularly timely for its references to fighting for acceptance in same sex relationships).

Yes, we were looking at each other

Yes, we knew each other very well

Yes, we had made love with each other many times

Yes, we had heard music together

Yes, we had gone to the sea together

Yes, we had cooked and eaten together

Yes, we had laughed often day and night

Yes, we fought violence and knew violence

Yes, we hated the inner and outer oppression

Yes, that day we were looking at each other


"After Paradise" by Czeslaw Milosz

With the very first line of "After Paradise," Nobel Prize-winning poet Czeslaw Milosz speaks to the spousal relationship: "Don't run anymore." What follows serves as an exquisite reminder of how important it is to always hold the little things in a long-term relationship sacred.

You must be attentive: the tilt of a head,

A hand with a comb, two faces in a mirror

Are only forever once, even if unremembered,

So that you watch what it is, though it fades away,

And are grateful every moment for your being.

Let that little park with greenish marble busts

In the pearl-gray light, under a summer drizzle,

Remain as it was when you opened the gate.

And the street of tall peeling porticos

Which this love of yours suddenly transformed.


"Valentine" by Carol Ann Duffy

Marriage isn't always a bed of roses, as the saying goes, which is what makes Scottish poet Carol Ann Duffy's "Valentine" such a perfectly relatable (and yet somehow still so romantic) poem.

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.

It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.

It promises light

like the careful undressing of love.

Here. It will blind you with tears

like a lover.

It will make your reflection

a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.


"Another Valentine" by Wendy Cope

Originally commissioned by The Daily Telegraph from award-winning poet Wendy Cope, "Another Valentine" puts a sweetly hilarious spin on long-term love.

Today we are obliged to be romantic

And think of yet another valentine.

We know the rules and we are both pedantic:

Today’s the day we have to be romantic.

Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.

You know I’m yours and I know you are mine.

And saying that has made me feel romantic,

My dearest love, my darling valentine.


"Having a Coke With You" by Frank O'Hara

Any poem that includes the line "I look at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world" is surely a poem any wife (or human) would appreciate, but this poem by Frank O'Hara goes a step further in elevating some of the most mundane moments in a relationship. "Having a coke with you," he writes:

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


"Romeo and Juliet" by Richard Brautigan

Both unsentimental and incredibly sentimental, if that makes sense, "Romeo and Juliet" by post-Beat era poet Richard Brautigan is one that will sums up married love rather perfectly, whether or not it was intended to do so.

If you will die for me,

I will die for you

and our graves will be like two lovers washing

their clothes together

in a laundromat

If you will bring the soap

I will bring the bleach.


"Don't Go Far Off" by Pablo Neruda

Of course we couldn't have a list of love poems without one by Pablo Neruda, and "Don't Go Far Off" is a soul-stirring call to the all-consuming spark that brought you two together in the first place.

Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --

because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long

and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station

when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don't leave me, even for an hour, because

then the little drops of anguish will all run together,

the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift

into me, choking my lost heart.


"Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses" by Alberto Rios

This playful love poem by Alberto Rios is about what is often the real glue that holds couples together: the ability to make each other laugh.

Mr. Teodoro Luna in his later years had taken to kissing

His wife

Not so much with his lips as with his brows.

This is not to say he put his forehead

Against her mouth--

Rather, he would lift his eyebrows, once, quickly:

Not so vigorously he might be confused with the villain

Famous in the theaters, but not so little as to be thought

A slight movement, one of accident. This way

He kissed her

Often and quietly, across tables and through doorways,

Sometimes in photographs, and so through the years themselves.

This was his passion, that only she might see.

The chance

He might feel some movement on her lips

Toward laughter.


"[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]" by E.E. Cummings

It's true that E.E. Cummings' punctation was so different that he appeared to have a broken shift key on his typewriter. But when your writing is this beautiful, it could be written backwards and it wouldn't matter — it still makes the reader swoon.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


“Love Is” by Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni is a prolific love poet (she has a whole collection of poems spanning three decades of work, simply titled, Love Poems). She was active in the Black Arts Movement, per Black Past. “Love Is” is a gorgeous poem filled with reminders that love is the simple things like asking questions or saying goodnight.

Some people forget that love is

tucking you in and kissing you

'Good night'

no matter how young or old you are

Some people don't remember that

love is

listening and laughing and asking


no matter what your age

Few recognize that love is

commitment, responsibility

no fun at all


Love is

You and me


“Touched By An Angel” by Maya Angelou

ViewStock/View Stock/Getty Images

Maya Angelou is often talked about in the context of her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, but she was also an accomplished poet. “Touched By An Angel” talks about the complexities of love, how it can both hurt and heal, and it’s a good reminder that you and your spouse chose each other for better and for worse.

We, unaccustomed to courage

exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.

Love arrives

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet if we are bold,

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love's light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love

which sets us free.


"Like an Auto-Tune of Authentic Love" by Carmen Giménez Smith

For a more contemporary poem (it talks about FaceTime, laptops, and Jack Nicholson) you can send your spouse “Like an Auto-Tune of Authentic Love” by Carmen Giménez Smith. With lines like, “Surprising love can happen at// any part of one’s life// like the pixels deciding when to// flicker into bursts,” this one may especially resonate if you and your partner found each other later in life.

I’m watching an old movie in one corner

of my laptop and in another the shadows

nesting in your neck, the flickering frequencies

of your sweater, and remember the Jack Nicholson

tagline in that movie we almost watched then decided

against fearing the little taser of misogyny:

You make me want to be a better person. Sometimes

the only thing I want is to say marry me

even though we both think marriage is archaic and weird

or at least for us. It’s not marry me I want to say

but rather weld with me like a net we also sit in.

Oh FaceTime face and shadow neck and the almost synced

sound of our shared watching. You have a list of things

that are going to be the death of you,

and so do I, which we cover in our debriefings.

All of this is to say that distance makes my heart go farther

into the terrain of heartfelt and I love it: how ordinarily

classifiable it is like feeling literal figurative butterflies

in your stomach. The good being fundamental.

Surprising love can happen at any part of one’s life

like the pixels deciding when to flicker into bursts.

These romantic Valentine’s Day poems are sure to give your partner a glimpse at just how much you love them and how deeply you feel for them.

This article was originally published on