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10 of the Best Poems about the Heart

Here is a list of 10 heart-to-heart poems from poets ranging from William Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, Emily Dickinson, and Dylan Thomas. These poems explore the nature of love, heartache, and hearty emotions stored within.

Best Poems about the Heart Visual Representation

The following list contains the best-known poems about the heart. These poems are not merely about the biological organ that pumps blood across the body. Rather these are the works of love and associated emotions. Some of the texts reveal how painful it is to lose a loved one and how discouraging the thoughts of death are. While some of the poems are about love and inspirational feelings that make a reader’s heart rejuvenated.

Best Poems about the Heart

A Process in the Weather of the Heart by Dylan Thomas

‘A Process in the Weather of the Heart’ is a free-verse poem by Dylan Thomas. This poem taps on the theme of death. The dry and arid imagery of this piece makes a reader think of oblivion. After reading the text, it becomes clear that Thomas wrote this poem with a heavy heart, maybe lamenting his loved one’s death. In general, it is a topical poem about death that delves into the juncture when the heart gives up. Let’s have a look at the last few lines from the text:

A process in the weather of the world

Turns ghost to ghost; each mothered child

Sits in their double shade.

A process blows the moon into the sun,

Pulls down the shabby curtains of the skin;

And the heart gives up its dead.

Explore the greatest poems of Dylan Thomas or read more of Dylan Thomas’s poems.

If I can stop one heart from breaking by Emily Dickinson

This short and simple poem is about Dickinson’s simple wish to stop one heart from breaking. If she is able to do it, she will not live in vain. It is the main message of this piece. This poem consists of rhyming lines that have a sing-song-like effect. Let’s have a look at the other wishes expressed by Dickinson:

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

Discover the best-known poems of Emily Dickinson or read more Emily Dickinson poems.

The Hope of My Heart by John McCrae

In the poem ‘The Hope of My Heart,’ John McCrae describes the love that exists beyond the grave and a speaker’s worry for his little, fair maiden. The speaker describes how he was forced to leave her loved one behind. He cared for her deeply. When he is absent, he thinks she is unsafe in this world. Hence, he prays to God to protect her. He has to make sure when she dies comes to heaven. The poet’s love for the maiden is best expressed in these lines:

I left, to earth, a little maiden fair,

With locks of gold, and eyes that shamed the light;

I prayed that God might have her in His care

And sight.

Read more John McCrae poems.

My Heart’s in the Highlands by Robert Burns

‘My Heart’s in the Highlands’ was written in 1789 by Robert Burns. This song is sung to the tune of “Failte na Miosg”. Through this piece, Burns reveals how close he is to the Scottish highlands. He presents beautiful natural imagery and repetition to express her love for the place. His close attachment to the hills of highlands is captured in these lines:

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,

The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;

Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,

The hills of the Highlands forever I’ll love.

Explore more Robert Burns poems.

Eat Your Heart Out by Charles Bukowski

This heart-breaking piece is about how a lady breaks up with the speaker. Their relationship has ended abruptly or quite humorously. In this poem, Bukowski describes how the lady toys with his heart. One day, she suddenly comes by and ends everything for a silly reason:

just as she leaves

she says,

I want you to buy me

some high-heeled shoes

with tall thin spikes,

black high-heeled shoes.

no, I want them


Read more Charles Bukowski poems.

My Heart Leaps Up by William Wordsworth

It is one of the most memorable poems of all time. In this beautiful piece, William Wordsworth describes how a simple rainbow mesmerizes his heart. Through its simplicity, it reveals some deeper concepts regarding spirituality and romanticism. This poem centers chiefly on a rainbow, a symbolic representation of nature and how the poet wishes to keep his childlike self alive. Here’s the full text of the poem:

My heart leaps up when I behold 

   A rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began; 

So is it now I am a man; 

So be it when I shall grow old, 

   Or let me die!

The Child is father of the Man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

Explore more William Wordsworth poems.

My Heart and I by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘My Heart and I’ depicts the distress of a newly widowed woman. The speaker reveals how she feels after her husband’s death. By repeating the word “tired” a number of times, she never lets readers forget her pain. She even admits that she would rather be dead than continue to live as she has to without her husband.

Yet who complains? My heart and I?

In this abundant earth no doubt

Is little room for things worn out :

Disdain them, break them, throw them by

And if before the days grew rough

We once were loved, used, — well enough,

I think, we’ve fared, my heart and I.

Read more Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems or explore 10 of the best E.B. Browning poems.

Love and the Gentle Heart by Dante Alighieri

‘Love and the Gentle Heart’ is a sonnet with an irregular rhyme scheme. This poem reveals the nature of love and heart. In the first two quatrains of this piece, Dante describes how love and heart are the same at the same time two distinct things. Whereas the concluding section talks about how virtue wins a woman’s heart and her love. Let’s have a look at the last few lines from Dante’s sonnet.

Then beauty in a virtuous woman’s face

makes the eyes yearn, and strikes the heart,

so that the eyes’ desire’s reborn again,

and often, rooting there with longing, stays,

Till love, at last, out of its dreaming starts.

Woman’s moved likewise by a virtuous man.

Never Give All the Heart by William Butler Yeats

‘Never Give All the Heart’ is a piece of poetic advice. From the title, Yeats’ message is clear: don’t give your whole heart to someone. Giving too much will someone to hurt you. According to the poet, love is brief and dreamy kind of delight that fades quickly fades away from the kiss to kiss. Those who have done this know it well, how the heart pains when loneliness reigns.

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.

Explore the best-known poems by W.B. Yeats or read more W.B. Yeats poems.

Sonnet 109: O! never say that I was false of heart by William Shakespeare

This Shakespearean sonnet is an expression of pure love and devotion unsettled by time and circumstance. It is addressed to the Fair Youth. Shakespeare reminds him that his love for him has never cooler. Even if they are not together, he is sure that nothing could tamper with his love for his beloved. There is nothing else in the world worth loving instead of him. It’s the message of this piece.

O! never say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seemed my flame to qualify.

As easy might I from myself depart

As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:

Explore the best Shakespearean love sonnets ever or read more William Shakespeare poems.

Sudip Das Gupta Poetry Expert
A complete expert on poetry, Sudip graduated with a first-class B.A. Honors Degree in English Literature. He has a passion for analyzing poetic works with a particular emphasis on literary devices and scansion.
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