Tag Archives: love poem

Hannah Hart Beat - Poetry

Three Love Poems for You

Hannah Hart Beat - Poetry

Hi, Hart Beat. Sorry it’s been a few days. The last week in the Berkshires has been a whirlwind, a great whirlwind, with friends, family, outdoor concerts, cookouts, afternoon naps, and swimming at the lake. I’ve also been busy working on my writing project and I’ve found, sadly for both you and me, that I can’t be in the Hart Beat and the other writing mode at the same time. While my other project has grown you have been waiting here! As an apology here are three love poems that I’ve come across in the last month or so that I’ve loved. I hope you love them too, Hart Beat. Summer nights are something magical and maybe you can share one of these with someone you love.


The Kiss, by Stephen Dunn, 1939

She pressed her lips to mind.
—a typo.

How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.

She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.

Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?

I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tonge
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,

defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.


Love at First Sight, by Wislawa Szymborska, 1923 – 2012

They’re both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
But uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways—
perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?

I want to ask them
if they don’t remember—
a moment far to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a “sorry” muttered in a crowd?
a curt “wrong number” caught in the receiver?—
but I know the answer.
No, they don’t remember.

They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.

Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain left fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch and covered another
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy by morning.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always halfway through.


Galaxy Love, by Gerald Stern, 1925

There’s too little time left to measure
the space between us for that was
long ago—that time—so just lie
under the dark blue quilt and put
the fat pillows with the blue slips
on the great windowsill so we can
look over them and down there
while I turn the light off with the right
hand and gather you in close with the wrong.


Hannah Hart Beat

A Poem for You this June Saturday

Eugenia Loli - Hannah Hart Beat

Afternoon, Hart Beat. How’s your day going? It’s rainy here on the Island so I’ve spent the morning writing up a storm. As a distraction, I decided to do some catching up on my emails from The Poetry Foundation. I’ve written about it here on Hart Beat before but if you’re new, The Poetry Foundation sends a daily newsletter that you can sign up for where a poem a day is emailed to you. The poems are usually seasonally appropriate and I love finding time in my busy day to sit down and read them. If I don’t like them I usually archive the email but, if the poem does hit me, I’ll save it and re-read them throughout the week.

This morning, this poem by Carmen Ginénez Smith came into my inbox and I knew I wanted to share it here with you, Hart Beat. The poem is from 2009 and, as usual, is about this month. I love it. What do you think, Hart Beat?

Photo of a Girl on a Beach
By Carmen Ginénez Smith

Once when I was harmless
and didn’t know any better,

a mirror to the front of me
and an ocean behind,

I lay wedged in the middle of daylight,
paper-doll thin, dreaming,

then I vanished, I gave the day a fingerprint,
then forgot.

I sat naked on a towel
on a hot June Monday.

The sun etched the inside of my eyelids,
while a boy dozed at my side.

The smell of all oceans was around us—
steamy salt, shell, and sweat,

but I reached for the distant one.
A tide rose while I slept,

and soon I was alone. Try being
a figure in memory. It’s hollow there.

For truth’s sake. I’ll say she was on a beach
and her eyes were closed.

She was bare in the sand, long,
and the hour took her bit by bit.


The illustration above is by I think Eugenia Loli. She’s been featured on Hart Beat before and you can read more here.

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Hi Hart Beat. I hope you had a great weekend. I had the best time and am really wishing that it was another long weekend now. I love reading the New Yorker every week and lately I’ve been combing through the poetry archives. I came across this one and thought of you. I love writing letters and sending mail. You got anything good lately, Hart Beat?

The Lost Art of Letter Writing
by Eavan Boland

The ratio of daylight to handwriting

Was the same as lacemaking to eyesight.

The paper was so thin it skinned air.

The had was fire and the page tinder.

Everything burned away except the one

Place they singled out between fingers

Held over a letter pad they set aside

For the long evenings of their leave-takings,

Always asking after what they kept losing,

Always performingeven when a shadow

Fell across the page and they knew the answer

Was not forthcomingthe same action:

First the leaning down, the pen becoming

A staff to walk fields with as they vanished

Underfoot into memory. Then the letting up,

The lighter stroke, which brought back

Cranesbill and thistle, a bicycle wheel

Rusting: an iron circle hurting the grass

Again and the hedges veiled in hawthorn

Again just in time for the May Novenas

Recited in sweet air on a road leading

To another, then another one, widening

To a motorway with four lanes, ending in

A new town on the edge of a city

They will never see. And if we say

An art is lost when it no longer knows

How to teach a sorrow to speak, come, see

The way we lost it: stacking letters in the attic,

Going downstairs so as not to listen to

The fields stirring at night as they became

Memory and in the morning as they became

Ink; what we did so as not to hear them

Whispering the only question they knew

By heart, the only one they learned from all

Those epistles of air and unreachable distance,

How to ask: is it still there?

The Meaning of Zero: A Love Poem

Hey you. I hope you had a nice weekend. I am so happy that summer is here and that I can spend it in Greenpoint. I’ve been having crazy vivid dreams lately, it must be because of the full moon. I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately and thought of you when I read this one. I hope you like it too.

The Meaning of Zero: A Love Poem
by Amy Uyematsu

      —Is where space ends called death or infinity?
                    Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions

A mere eyelid’s distance between you and me.

It took us a long time to discover the number zero.

John’s brother is afraid to go outside.
He claims he knows
the meaning of zero.

I want to kiss you.

A mathematician once told me you can add infinity
to infinity.

There is a zero vector, which starts and ends
at the same place, its force
and movement is impossible
to record with 
rays or maps or words.
It intersects yet runs parallel
with all others.

A young man I know
wants me to prove
the zero vector exists.
I tell him I can’t,
but nothing in my world
makes sense without it.

Café de L’Imprimerie by Sean O’Brien

Morning Hart Beat! I have a beautiful poem to share with you today. I love finding great poems in The New Yorker and this week there was another gem. All I can think about when I read this poem is falling in love in Europe and my favorite start crossed lovers. I hope you like this one as much as I do. And p.s. here’s a great poetry podcast if you need something to listen to on the train.

Café de L’Imprimerie
by Sean O’Brien

I wait for you inside a glass beside
The long dim window of the Café de l’Imprimerie.
I see you, beautiful and wry

And not yet here, and yet not here,
While this late-summer evening never ends
And never ends but is infinitesimally

Dimming on the street besides Les Halles, where I
Can see you, beautiful and wry as you draw near,
And I am reassured you are not coming. Yes.

All night I wait for you at the Café de l’Imprimerie.
Your absence makes you beautiful and wry
And this late-summer evening never ends,

Nor does the beautiful intolerable
Music, where the truth is cut
With sentiment and surely fatal.

Come now. Do not come. Come now. Do not,
And lead me to a room where you undress,
A bare white room at un atraceable address

Where we will stay forever. Come now. Do not. Yes.

Oh New York, Frank O’Hara and I love you so much

Hi there. Happy rainy Monday night, Hart Beat. Back in September I shared this amazing poem with you called “Having a Coke with You” by Frank O’Hara. I love the poem because not only is it an incredibly romantic poem to read to a lover but it’s a great ode to New York as well. I have another Frank O’Hara poem to share tonight and this one is no different. The poem oozes love and intimacy (oh god it’s wonderful / to get out of bed / and drink too much coffee / and smoke too many cigarettes / and love you so much) but the best part, in my opinion, is the subtle way that it talks about the eternal love for New York City. I’m right there with you Frank, my darling.

by Frank O’Hara

How funny you are today New York
like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime
and St. Bridget’s steeple leaning a little to the left

here I have just jumped out of a bed full of V-days
(I got tired of D-days) and blue you there still
accepts me foolish and free
all I want is a room up there
and you in it
and even the traffic halt so thick is a way
for people to rub up against each other
and when their surgical appliances lock
they stay together
for the rest of the day (what a day)
I go by to check a slide and I say
that painting’s not so blue

where’s Lana Turner
she’s out eating
and Garbo’s backstage at the Met
everyone’s taking their coat off
so they can show a rib-cage to the rib-watchers
and the park’s full of dancers with their tights and shoes
in little bags
who are often mistaken for worker-outers at the West Side Y
why not
the Pittsburg Pirates shout because they won
and in a sense we’re all winning
we’re alive

and the little box is out on the sidewalk
next to the delicatessen
so the old man can sit on it and drink beer
and get knocked off it by his wife later in the day
while the sun is still shining

oh god it’s wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much

(published in 1961)
(Source for both photos)

Valentines for the romantically challenged

Hola Hart Beat. Today I thought I’d share with you a great new podcast that my roommate recently introduced to me. I listen to podcasts all the time (Radiolab is my all time favorite. Ahem, hey Robert Krulwich, why are you such a negative Nancy?) and on and off I’ve been into This American Life.

The podcast that Sam shared with me is called The Poetry Magazine Podcast and is produced by The National Poetry Foundation. The premise behind the show is that editors “go inside the pages of Poetry, talking to poets and critics, debating the issues, and sharing their poem selections with listeners.” It comes out weekly so there’s always something new to hear and after reading a few poems the people on the show discuss what they think the poems mean. The episode that I want to share with you, Hart Beat, is this years Valentine’s Day podcast called “Valentines for the Romantically Challenged.

In this episode there are two love poems under discussion. The first, “Variation on the Word Sleep” by Margaret Atwood, might be one of the most romantic poems I’ve read in a while. And the second, ” ” by Pablo Neruda, is obviously one of my favorites. I especially love the discussion that they have about the different translations of the poem that they come across. Poetry, Spanish translation, and romance all in one podcast?? I think all my dreams have come true.

You can listen to the poems and the podcast by clicking here.

Variation on the Word Sleep
by Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver 
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easy as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII
by Pablo Neruda (translated by Mark Eisner)

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

I forget the rest, a poem

Hey Hart Beat. I’ve been going through a lot of old tumblr and blog posts the last couple of days and I keep finding these miscellaneous quotes. Often time I love the saying so much I want to share it with you immediately here but when I go to find the source it’s often misquoted or attributed to the wrong person. This Walt Whitman quote is just the case. “We were together. I forgot the rest.” What a great line, unfortunately/ fortunately the poem bellow is where the tumblr image originally came from. Either way I love the sentiment and I hope you do too, Hart Beat.

Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City
by Walt Whitman

Once I pass’d through a populous city imprinting my brain for future
use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions,
Yet now of all that city I remember only a woman I casually met
there who detain’d me for love of me,
Day by day and night by night we were together—all else has long
been forgotten by me,
I remember I say only that woman who passionately clung to me,
Again we wander, we love, we separate again,
Again she holds me by the hand, I must not go,
I see her close beside me with silent lips sad and tremulous.

We two—how long we were fool’d

I was poking around the internet the other day researching some quotes I had found for their valitidy and I came across this lovely poem. I thought of you instantly, Hart Beat. I hope you love it too.

We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d
by Walt Whitman published in Leaves of Grass

We twohow long we were fool’d!
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes;
We are Nature—long have we been absent, but now we return;
We became plants, leaves, foliage, roots, bark;
We are bedded in the ground—we are rocks;
We are oaks—we grow in the openings side by side;
We browse—we are two among the wild herds, spontaneous as any;
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together;
We are what the locust blossoms are—we drop scent around the lanes, mornings and evenings;
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals;
We are two predatory hawks—we soar above, and look down;
We are two resplendent suns—we it is who balance ourselves, orbic and stellar—we are as two comets;
We prowl fang’d and four-footed in the woods—we spring on prey;
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving overhead;
We are seas mingling—we are two of those cheerful waves, rolling over each other, and interwetting each other,
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, pervious, impervioius:
We are snow, rain, cold, darness—we are each product and influence of the globe;
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again—we two have;
We have voided all by freedom, and all but our own joy.