Desire Poems

Gacela of Unforseen Love

by Federico Garcia Lorca

‘Gacela of Unforseen Love’ explores the relationship between love and despair through a remembered romance which has run its course.

Like so much of Lorca's work, desire is the catalyst for the poem and is imbued within its images. The poem is principally concerned with impotent longing for something the narrator cannot have.

No one understood the perfume

of the dark magnolia of your womb

Nobody knew that you tormented

a hummingbird of love between your teeth.

Explore more poems about Desire

“Why did you come” (#1 from Hermetic Definition: ‘Red Rose and a Beggar’)

by Hilda Doolittle

‘Why did you come’ by Hilda Doolittle is a free-verse poem about love, self-criticism, aging, and the human inability to control judgments and desires.

"Why did you come" is all about the desire that the poet feels for her unnamed visitor and the other feelings that come up, such as guilt, shame, fear, and disbelief. However, ultimately, desire wins, even if the poet is still afraid of judgment from herself and others as a result of her lust and attraction.

“Take me anywhere” (from Hermetic Definition: ‘Red Rose and a Beggar’)

by Hilda Doolittle

In “Take me anywhere, anywhere;” by Hilda Doolittle, the poet-speaker addresses a lover, expressing the way in which she takes refuge in their affection.

In "Take me anywhere, anywhere;" the poet expresses an all-consuming desire to be close to her lover. She is so enraptured by her passion that she doesn't care about places or things. All she wants to do is crawl into the mind of her lover, where she will be safe from the rest of the world.

The Nightingale

by Philip Sidney

‘The Nightingale’ is a unique love-lyric that exploits the classical myth of Philomel to morph the personal rue of a lovelorn heart into a superb piece of poetry.

Sidney showed some excellent skills when it's about relationships. There are some relationships which are brutal, decisive and some could be nourished properly. Desire is the keyword of the poem. It connects every plot of the poem and knits the web in which the two incident i.e., the poet's unrequited love and the famous Philomela myth shine brighter than anything.

The Sea and the Hills

by Rudyard Kipling

‘The Sea and the Hills’ by Rudyard Kipling depicts the ocean, its heaving waves, incredible winds, and ever-present danger. It has evoked longing in men throughout time and will continue to do so, just as one longs to return home. 

Zora Neale Hurston wrote that "ships at a distance have every man's wish on board" an so it is the case with the sea more broadly. It represents possibility, hopes and all the desires a person holds within them.


by Hilda Doolittle

‘Circe’ by Hilda Doolittle is a poem that gives voice to Circe, a goddess and master of magical enchantments. Despite her power, she laments that she cannot control love.

Circe's desire for the long-lost sailor is incredibly intense, but since the goddess is not used to begging for anything she wants, she expresses frustration at her desire for him. However, ultimately, she resigns herself to her love, wishing that she could trade in her power for his attention.

The Quilting

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘The Quilting’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a very short love poem that reveals the speaker’s growing affection for a woman named Dolly.

The speaker's desire for Dolly, the quilter, is unbearable and manifests physically. His itchy, presumably sweaty palms and pounding pulse are symptoms of this affection. However, despite his passion for her, he never says a thing in this poem, which only intensifies his longing.


by Hugo Williams

‘Toilet’ by Hugo Williams is a humorous poem that describes a man’s struggles to speak to a beautiful woman on a train.

The man's affection for the woman on the train is far more about desire than it is love. He stares at her longingly unless his gaze makes her feel awkward, inspiring her to slip away to the bathroom.

29 April 1989

by Sujata Bhatt

‘29 April 1989’ by Sujata Bhatt is a sweet, little piece about a mother’s sudden found pleasure in nature’s soggy musicality.

A Hope Carol

by Christina Rossetti

‘A Hope Carol’ describes a liminal space in which a speaker is existing and the elements which inspire her to hope for the future. 

A Night Thought

by William Wordsworth

‘A Night Thought’ by William Wordsworth describes a speaker’s displeasure at those among the human race who do not appreciate what fortune has given them.  

A Song of Faith Forsworn

by John Warren

‘A Song of Faith Forsworn’ by Lord De Tabley details the love lost between the speaker and her lover who attempted to control her through lies and false vows.

A Thousand Martyrs

by Aphra Behn

‘A Thousand Martyrs’ by Aphra Behn is a powerful exploration of faith, persecution, and the enduring strength of the human spirit.

A Woman to Her Lover

by Christina Walsh

‘A Woman to Her Lover’ goes over the requirements a “wakened” woman will have for her lover. She must be his equal in all aspect of their lives together.


by Kay Ryan

‘Blandeur’ by Kay Ryan is a thoughtful poem that shows a deep love for the natural world and depicts it as all a part of God’s creation.


by Imtiaz Dharker

‘Blessing’ by Imtiaz Dharker is about the importance of water in people’s lives. It uses imagery to depict how cricital this element is to survival.

Break of Day

by John Donne

‘Break of Day’ by John Donne is an aubade told from a female perspective. It conveys a woman’s understanding of her relationship with a busy lover. 

Cousin Kate

by Christina Rossetti

‘Cousin Kate’ speaks to the circumstance of women during the Victorian era. The period in which Rossetti wrote this poem makes the message all the more meaningful.

De Profundis

by Christina Rossetti

‘De Profundis’ by Christina Rossetti describes a speaker’s longing for heaven, and the impossibility of reaching it during one’s lifetime. 


by Philip Larkin

‘Dry-Point’ by Philip Larkin is a poem about sexuality. It uses the image of a bubble to depict the pinnacle of one’s sexual longing

Dusting The Phone

by Jackie Kay

‘Dusting The Phone’ by Jackie Kay is a a monologue of a woman yearning for a single phone call from the man she loves.

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