Home / Happy Valentine’s Day / Valentine’s Day Ideas – Write a Valentine Poem: Robert Burns and E.B. Browning Templates for Valentines Day Poems

Valentine’s Day Ideas – Write a Valentine Poem: Robert Burns and E.B. Browning Templates for Valentines Day Poems

For all its milk chocolate and clandestine joys, Valentine’s Day can be a stressful occasion for many inarticulate lovers. How does one convey his or her true feelings to that significant someone on this day of love and confession? The best way – though often the hardest – is to simply say it, with words. With poetry.

Poetry, from songs to sonnets, has long been the traditional method of conveying sentiments of love. Composing a poem from scratch is an ambitious undertaking, though, especially for those unaccustomed to writing poetry. Luckily, great English poets like Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Burns mastered the love poem centuries ago for today’s would-be poet to admire and to imitate.

Modeling E.B. Browning’s Sonnet XLIII

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is author to one of the most recognizable lines of all English love poetry: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” This line might be used as a prompt for would-be Valentine’s Day poets. Disregarding the form of the sonnet, one might compose a poem simply by listing the many ways in which he/she loves the lucky sweetheart. Or, the poem may be parodied by inserting modern-day analogies between otherwise unaltered lines. For example: “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / That NASA’s newest probes can register.” Following is the poem in its entirety:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with a passion put to use

In my old griefs, and in my childhood’s faith,

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

Modeling Robert Burns’ “A Red, Red Rose”

Another prompt for Valentine’s writers to consider is the song. Writing an original love song is attainable with or without music, so long as the standards of rhyme and repeat are met. Robert Burns’ poem “A Red, Red Rose” is an excellent example of a song without music. The song-like quality is created by the simple ABCB rhyme scheme and the frequent repetition of words and lines. To get started, the writer might consider an analogy that would work with his/her sweetheart – “My love is like Chevy truck / That can carry all your baggage.” Following is Burns’ poem in its entirety.

Oh my luve is like a red, red rose,

That’s newly sprung in June:

Oh my luve is like the melodie,

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!

And fare thee weel a while!

And I will come again, my luve,

Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

It should be noted that these poems do not need to go on for pages – it is possible to portray one’s feelings for another in 14-20 well thought-out lines of honest and playful love poetry.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *