Anything but Ordinary – Love Poems
Valentine’s Day is Monday, and instead of going against the grain, today I will challenge you to write a love poem. But try to make yours unique.
Option One: Everything Old is New Again
“and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you” – ee cummings, “i carry your heart with me”
These lines by cummings use traditional love poem images of the moon and the sun, but they are used in his own special rhythm and syntax. For this exercise, write a love poem that uses traditional images (flowers, candy, hearts, sunsets) in completely, unique and different ways.
Option Two: The Anti-Love Poem
“I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;”
My two favorite lines from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 (“My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun”), probably the most famous anti-love poem ever written.Write your own anti-love poem – show the faults and foibles of the one you love while showing that you care.
Option Three: Start far, far away. Then come close with details.
Here is an example from my chapbook Womb/Seed/Fruit (Finishing Line Press, 2010):
There will be no statues erected to
our love. But there is a place outside
of Budapest where statues of Lenin
and Stalin have gone to die. They mark
what has changed, what has been left
behind, prove the past existed.
I keep smaller mementos in a drawer:
a poem you wrote when we first met,
concert tickets from bands one of us hated,
but saw just to make the other happy.
I could throw them away, but I don’t.
I like to be reminded, especially of these
ordinary things I sometimes take for
granted. I hear your voice call from
the kitchen –you can’t find your keys.
If someone asked me to build a monument
to bliss, it would this, you calling from
the kitchen, me answering.
So write a love poem that starts somewhere else and ends up close to home. And whichever love poem you try, take a moment to be thankful for those you love.