From Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Death of a Teacher’ to D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Bei Hennef,’ these heartfelt ‘I miss you’ poems depict what it feels like to long for someone.
Best I Miss You Poems
- 1 A Memory by Lola Ridge
- 2 The Sea of Glass by Ezra Pound
- 3 Dove, Interrupted by Lucie Brock-Broido
- 4 The Wife’s Lament by Anonymous
- 5 Bei Hennef by D.H. Lawrence
- 6 Romance Sonámbulo by Federico García Lorca
- 7 Time does not bring relief; you all have lied by Edna St. Vincent Millay
- 8 I Cannot Live With You by Emily Dickinson
- 9 Death of a Teacher by Carol Ann Duffy
- 10 Longing by Sara Teasdale
First on the list of ‘I miss you’ poems is ‘A Memory’. This poem describes the speaker’s memories of a night she spent with a lover along the seashore. She looks back on the moment, the sounds of the town, and the surf on the beach. It’s not clear exactly what her relationship is to the place, but it is clear that her time there, along with her lover, is temporary. The tides flowing in and out come to symbolize that fact. Ridge’s speaker is looking back on this time in an effort to remember it better. Here are a few lines from the poem:
The moon hung above us like a golden mango,
And the moist air clung to our faces,
Warm and fragrant as the open mouth of a child
And we watched the out-flung sea
‘The Sea of Glass,’ like a number of Pound’s poems, is quite short. It’s only six lines long. In those lines, the first-person speaker describes looking outside and seeing the sea “roofed over with rainbows.” In the middle of each, he goes on, two lovers came together and departed. These beautiful images speak to a broader feeling of longing and how universal loving and losing is. Here are the last two lines of the poem:
Then the sky was full of faces
with gold glories behind them.
‘Dove, Interrupted’ is a beautiful contemporary love poem that brings together disparate seeming images only to conclude with the phrase “I miss your heart, my / heart.” After a series of medieval, traveling, and animal-related imagery, these clear and direct lines are even more effective. Since nothing in this poem is straightforward or easily interrupted, it is left up to the reader to try to uncover the connections between “a miniature priest,’ “the rabbit Maurice,” Versailles, and Vienne. Here are a few lines from the poem:
Don’t do that when you are dead like this, I said,
Arguably still squabbling about the word inarguably.
I haunt Versailles, poring through the markets of the medieval.
The Wife’s Lament by Anonymous
‘The Wife’s Lament’ is a well-known Anglo-Saxon poem from The Exeter Book. The poem comes from the perspective of a woman, someone who has lost her husband and is mourning and missing the life she once knew. Here are a few lines:
I make this song of myself, deeply sorrowing,
my own life’s journey. I am able to tell
all the hardships I’ve suffered since I grew up,
‘Bei Hennef’ is a lovely poem in which the speaker expresses the simplicity of his love with his partner and wonders why life can’t be as simple as their connection. He explains how their pure love for one another is often influenced by the little irritation,” anxieties, and pains” that occur every day. But, in the end, they are one another’s perfect matches. They are “night” and “Day,” “the wish,” and the “fulfillment.” He wonders why they have to “suffer in spite of this.” Here are the last lines of the poem:
You are the call and I am the answer,
You are the wish, and I the fulfillment,
You are the night, and I the day.
What else—it is perfect enough,
It is perfectly complete,
You and I.
Strange, how we suffer in spite of this!
Unlike the other poems on this list, ‘Romance Sonámbulo’ depicts a speaker’s longing for something unattainable. He describes a woman with gree hair and skin, using striking images to ensure that readers remember this piece for a long time to come. Here are some of the lines translated into English from the original Spanish:
Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
‘Time does not bring relief; you all have lied’ is a well-loved Edna St. Vincent Millay poem in which the speaker describes her emotional damage and how despite what people say, time has not improved her circumstances. She expresses anger over this fact. She wants her longing for this love to have dissipated but it hasn’t. She explains that he’s still haunting her heart and mind. No matter where she goes or what she does, he’s there. Here are the first four lines of the poem:
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
In ‘I Cannot Live With You,’ Dickinson’s speaker addresses her lover, taking them through all the possible outcomes of their relationship. She’s determined that anything they attempt is going to end in despair. She suggests that she cares about this person and perhaps even misses them when they aren’t there, but she also doesn’t want to be discarded and have to live with that fear. She’d rather avoid love altogether than risk losing it. Here are the final lines of the twelve-stanza poem:
So We must meet apart —
You there — I — here —
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are — and Prayer —
And that White Sustenance —
In ‘Death of a Teacher,’ Duffy depicts her experiences with a teacher that helped her succeed as a young writer. She alludes to memories of the past and everything she’s learned with this person. Although her teacher has died, she knows the world continues to move on without them. Even through her sorrow for this loss, she’s able to stop and consider everything this person gave her. Here are the last lines of the poem:
is endless love; the poems by heart, spells, the lists
lovely on the learning tongue, the lessons, just as you said,
for life. Under the gambling trees, the gold light thins and burns,
the edge of a page of a book, precious, waiting to be turned.
Longing is a short and fairly simple poem that uses powerful images to convey a speaker’s opinion about her life, what she missed out on, and what still moves her. In the lines of ‘Longing,’ the speaker says that she does not feel sorrow for her soul for it can “live a thousand times.” She is sorry for her body “that must go” back to dust without the experiences it longed for. Here are the last lines of the poem:
I am not sorry for my soul,
But oh, my body that must go
Back to a little drift of dust
Without the joy it longed to know.