How to Write a Love Poem

Giving your lover a poem can be one of those show-stopping, OMG moments under the right conditions. Conditions? Isn't love unconditional, you ask? Ha! What a sentimental dolt you are! Let me give you a hint: you may not want to give your lover a poem if , for example, s/he:

  • Hates poetry
  • Is a very accomplished poet and you are not

Given, however, that both poetry and love can be highly unpredictable, I could be completely wrong. The fact is that there is no way you can predict whether or not your love poem will be welcomed or spurned by its recipient. You'll just have to wait and find out with the rest of us.

Following are a few pointers that may help make your love poem offering a success.

Step One: Read Some Love Poems

No need for you to re-invent the wheel, here. It's been done, bucko! Here's Sonnet 18, by William Shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: 
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, 
And summer's lease hath all too short a date: 
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, 
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; 
And every fair from fair sometime declines, 
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; 
But thy eternal summer shall not fade 
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; 
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, 
When in eternal lines to time thou growest: 
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, 
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
 

Immortality is not a bad gift to give, wouldn't you say? Let's examine what The Bard has done.

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Oh, yes, please do. Tentative, like a lover's first caress, it echoes the silent question contained therein.

"Thou art more lovely and more temperate.."

Okay, I'm prettier and environmentally superior. Keep talking...

"Rough winds do shake the darling buds of may...."

Ooh, when he says "rough" it's sooo sexy. If you go through the poem, line by line, you see that each word and phrase has its use in keeping the romantic mood of the poem.

What else is going on? Metre is going on, that's what. Iambic pentameter, to be precise. Weaker first syllable, stronger second, uh-HUH, uh-HUH, uh-HUH, uh-HUH, uh-HUH, across the page. It sounds like making love, doesn't it?

So he goes on, comparing her quite favorably to a summer's day, and then transcends the comparison all the way to eternity. "Forever" is a very romantic concept, after all.

Chances are that neither you nor I will write a poem with the longevity this one has enjoyed, but we can use the master's tools and techniques to craft something nice for our own love all the same. As in love itself, if you take your time and think always of your partner, you will be successful.

Step Two: Subject Matter

Love poems have the advantage of being about something predetermined. It can be about any one of - or all of - your lover's many wonderful attributes, or it can be about your feelings for your lover, or it can be about your relationship over time, past, present and future; but it should be about something you care deeply about so that your feelings can show through. Whatever the poem is about, it is all about your feelings and emotions, whether it says so in plain words or not.

The best love poems do not blurt out their love; they couch their love on sensory cushions, details of sight, sound and touch that resonate in your being and your lover's. Your poem might reference a romantic place you shared, or a special time, or it might touch on something you both share that is only known to the two of you.

Step Three: Meter and Rhyme

Although it is not necessary for you to use an established poetic form such as the sonnet above to compose your poem, it might be a good place to start. Personally I find that conforming to the rules of a form makes me think harder and choose my words more carefully.

Once you write a few lines in a meter such as iambic pentameter you will see how well it flows, as well as how it gives your words an urgency that demands attention. Rhyme is less important, but can help establish your love poem's relationship to the love song in your lover's mind. If you can make it rhyme and flow sensually as it must, by all means do so. Go carefully, however, because rhyme can also be hilarious if too obviously contrived. If you are stymied by a rhyme, just leave it and keep going. You can always go back to it. In the end, your poem may or may not rhyme. You'll see what works best for you.

Shakespeare's sonnet is written in iambic pentameter and has a rhyme scheme of A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D, E, F, E, F, G, G. Your poem does not have to be a sonnet. Read a few poems and pattern yours after one you like. For a very funny reference guide on poetic forms, I recommend "How To Be Well-Versed In Poetry" edited by E.O. Parrott.

After you've scratched out a few lines in some kind of poetic form you can start to mold your poem into its final state.

Step Four: Read Your Poem To Yourself

Someplace where the poem's intended recipient can't hear you, read the poem aloud. Notice where it is awkward, where a rhyme seems forced, where it is bursting out of its form. Edit and repeat. Edit and repeat. If you feel unsure you are making the right decisions, read the poem to a trusted friend or former English teacher. Ask for suggestions, if you like. When it feels smooth and natural, as when you enfold your lover in your arms, it is ready to be given.

Step Five: Presentation

Prepare the poem for presentation. It should be written or printed in ink on nice paper. If you draw, you might include a small picture on the same page to illustrate part of the meaning of the poem. If it's a short poem, such as Sonnet 18, you might put it in a blank greeting card: maybe something with red roses on it.

Wait until the time is right. You should be together in a relatively quiet place where there won't be too much external stimulae to distract from the poem. A romantic venue can only work to your advantage. A little candlelight wouldn't hurt.

You will have to decide whether to read the poem to your lover or let them read it to themselves. Once it is read, don't speak. Wait patiently for your lover's reaction.

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Comments 49 comments

Nicole Winter profile image

Nicole Winter 7 years ago from Chicago, IL

Wonderful advice, Tom Rubenoff! Regardless of style, skill or form, nothing impresses a girl quite like poetry!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

It's so fun to see the person's face when they hear or read a poem written for them for the first time.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Great lead in, Tom. I had to check it out. Congratulations.


izettl profile image

izettl 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

THere is nothing more personal than a genuine love poem. I still believe in the power of romance and love poems are at the top of that list.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

I try to write a love poem for my wife at every birthday and anniversary. Now, after twenty-three years, we are thinking of putting them into a book.


hisham80 7 years ago from malaysia

that good.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

thank you


feeweewv profile image

feeweewv 7 years ago from Between A Dream And Reality

I'm such a sap for a mushy love poem... i think my favorite is william wordsworth's , Among all lovely things my love has been.... i like that one :)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

My wife loves 'em, too. We want to make a book of all of them I've written for her over the years. It will be interesting to re-read them after all this time.


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

Ohhhhh, so that's how you are supposed to do it.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Ha ha, it's funny hearing that from you, Accomplished One.


agaglia profile image

agaglia 7 years ago

Tom, Thanks for the good information. I feel that sometimes the words just come out when the feelings are so intense -- I cannot write fast enough. Then the rewrites make it cleaner, more clear and and possibly publishable.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Sounds like you have a very satisfying and productive process, Agaglia. Thank you.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

nice article, I like reading poem. but to make it in English. I don't have self confident. But after read your hub. Encourage me to make it.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

What a wonderful thing to say! I will look forward to reading your work.


\Brenda Scully 7 years ago

I really liked this hub...... so you kept all the poems you wrote for your wife, and are they all very different. Let me know when the book is written, so I can get a copy...


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

It would be my pleasure.


Darrell Roberts profile image

Darrell Roberts 7 years ago

Always great to read your writing Tom!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Darrell! I enjoy your writing, too!


Leop profile image

Leop 7 years ago

Well written information about love poems. Looking forward to reading more.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Leop. Please to make your acquaintance!


poetlorraine 7 years ago

HIYA how you doing......


I*n*v*i*c*t*u*s profile image

I*n*v*i*c*t*u*s 7 years ago

Great lesson here, I must utilise some of your wisdom!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Hi, Poetlorraine! I'm doing well. And you? :0)

Thank you, Invictus!


darkmaster100 7 years ago

i miss caro she is online so i want a love poem from one of you


darkmaster100 7 years ago

please help me tom rubenoff


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Do you want a love poem for Caro? Who is Caro and how do you feel? I will help if I can.


John 7 years ago

Please help me write a good, short love poem for my girlfriend. I'm going to propose to her next week and I have zero creativity!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Ok, I'll play Cyrano de Bergerac.

You the rainbow gladdening my sky,

The sunshine's warm caress

Teaching me love's meaning, I

Am bathed in happiness.

Before now I was only waiting

For you, my entire life

Spent anticipating

This day,

The day I'd ask you to be my wife


Mike Dennis profile image

Mike Dennis 6 years ago

You ARE a grand poet. I give you a toast and hope you enjoy my poetry too.


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida

Lovely! ...wish I had someone to write me a love poem every birthday or anniversary, what a sensitive and talented man you are! Thanks for sharing.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

*blush*

thank you, Brightforyou! :0)


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

My husband wrote me a song in his native language. It was also very beautiful. You are so romantic whith your love poems.

My song:

http://hubpages.com/relationships/He-Wrote-Me-a-Lo


Peggy 6 years ago

I've just been wowed by an old friend and after all these years, he still blows me away with his charm. But I had no idea he was so romantic. He says he wants to be friends, but his poems say so much more. "Gone with the Wind" has nothing on this man.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

There is all kinds of love in this physical existence. Try to find ways to enjoy it all.


Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 6 years ago from drexel hill,pa

I especially agree with your first piece of advice: read good poetry and see how it's done. I gave similar advice in my recent post :The Art of Writing Prose Poetry-- Ten Critical Steps. Your comments about editing are right on the money, as are you comments about reading to a trusted friend or teacher. It seems we are like-minded poets. Write on!


Katherine 6 years ago

I may be very young. But I can still feel love. And I am a very big fan on Shakespeare. He is a wonderful poet, and I wish that one day I can be as great a poet as he. But I'm almost for sure that it will never happen. Because no one could ever compare to William Shakespear and his wonderful work.


Poetic Fool 5 years ago

Just stumbled upon your hub and enjoyed it immensely. At lot of good advise here. Thanks for sharing.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

My pleasure. The best audience for poetry is... poets!


Naomi Rose Welty profile image

Naomi Rose Welty 5 years ago from Savannah, GA

Dear Tom,

I was thinking of writing a hub on how to write poetry, so did a quick search on Hub pages -- and, wow, I like your hub! I think you've done a great job, and will have to consider whether I have anything to add. :-)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

I have faith in you, Rose. There are many ways to write poetry :)


mistifields profile image

mistifields 5 years ago

You are awesome for sharing your expertise. Thank you.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

You honor me. Thank you for reading.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

Mr. Poetry Editor, this is helpful information. I like what you say about the challenge of writing specific styles of poetry. It can make a big difference in the effectiveness of a poem, especially love poems. I hope more poetry contest hubbers find your hubs!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

I do what I can, you know, you can lead a horse to water, yada yada :)

Thank you!!


V Qisya 5 years ago

Great advice! Thank you for sharing ;D


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Wow! I love reading this hub and all the comments and with all those tips you mentioned. I was once writing a poem for my hubby on our early years of marriage. It was very emotional to me. I did not know at that time how I could express myself. I think it's time for me to write another one for him. Thanks for sharing and for your follow. Voted up!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

I love it when people get something really specific like this from my work. Thanks so much!


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Great advice and beautiful idea!

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