Heartbreak

Symptoms of Love by Robert Graves

‘Symptoms of Love’ is a fascinating mediation on the agony that can arise from being in love and whether that suffering is ever worthwhile.

DEAD by Kanye West

‘DEAD’ by Kanye West addresses feelings of alienation and isolation. Specifically, those surrounding the writer’s relationship with his now ex-wife, Kim Kardashian.

A Renewal by James Merrill

‘A Renewal’ by James Merrill describes the plight of a speaker who tries to end a relationship but, as soon as they successfully do so, our struck by a violent resurgence of the same love that they had lost.

The Meeting by Katherine Mansfield

‘The Meeting’ by Katherine Mansfield is a short and image-rich poem that depicts a speaker’s reaction to a permanent separation from her lover. 

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.

Sonnet 139 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 139,’ also known as ‘O, call not me to justify the wrong,’ expresses the speaker’s longing that the Dark Lady stop treating him so cruelly. By the end, he gives in and accepts his fate. 

Sonnet 133 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 133,’ also known as ‘Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan,’ is a poem about the speaker’s toxic relationship with the Dark Lady. He tries to find a way to improve his circumstances but admits he’s trapped.

Sonnet 135 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 135,’ also known as ‘Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,’ is an unusual sonnet within Shakespeare’s oeuvre. It expresses the speaker’s desire to sleep with the Dark Lady and counted among her many lovers.

Sonnet 118 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 118,’ also known as ‘Like as, to make our appetites more keen,’ by William Shakespeare uses metaphors to depict the current state of the speaker and Fair Youth’s relationship.

Water by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Within ‘Water,’ Emerson personifies the force, depicting it as having its own will and the ability to make choices for itself and for civilization. 

The Heart asks Pleasure – first

‘The heart asks pleasure first’ by Emily Dickinson depicts the needs of the heart. They are highly changeable and include pleasure and excuse from pain.

Ae Fond Kiss by Robert Burns

‘Ae Fond Kiss’ by Robert Burns tells of the unfortunate parting of two lovers, and a speaker’s depression over the many parts of his life he is losing.

Wild Oats by Philip Larkin

‘Wild Oats’ by Philip Larkin depicts the difficulties in a specific relationship he had with two women.

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

‘The Invitation’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer is a poem about relationships. In this piece, the speaker defines what it is she’s looking for and everything she doesn’t care about.

The Ghost by Sara Teasdale

‘The Ghost’ by Sara Teasdale describes a speaker’s unwelcome experience after reuniting with two ex-lovers in a city she used to know. 

La Figlia Che Piange by T.S. Eliot

‘La Figlia Che Piange’ by T. S. Eliot describes a speaker’s attempt to craft the perfect, yet tragic, love story and his obsession with its completion.

Music I Heard by Conrad Aiken

‘Music I Heard’ by Conrad Aiken describes the irreparably changed world of a speaker who has lost his lover but not the most poignant of his memories.

Song For The Last Act by Louise Bogan

‘Song for the Last Act’ by Louise Bogan describes the complicated and emotionally confining relationship that exists between a speaker and their listener. 

The Truth the Dead Know by Anne Sexton

‘The Truth the Dead Know’ by Anne Sexton is an emotional poem that speaks about traditions and attitudes around death, as well as Sexton’s response to loss in her own life.

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