“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” Thus begins William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, one of his well-loved compositions. A love poem has the power to melt the coldest heart, or to enrapture the weary. But while reading a poem on love is easy, how to write a love poem is a different story.
There are many varieties of love poems. These are lyric in nature and do not necessarily follow a pattern, save for the sonnet. You can write a love poem haiku-style, or you could follow e.e. cummings’ footsteps with free verse.
Structure of Love Poem
You could start with something structured, such as the sonnet. This is a 14-line iambic pentameter poem, which is usually broken down into three quatrains (a stanza of four lines), and one couplet (two lines). The first three quatrains could describe your feelings towards a person. You could give examples, interspersed with figures of speech. The last two lines, on the other hand, summarize your points, which are elaborated in the quatrains.
Decide on the rhyme scheme for your sonnet. Rhyme adds a rhythmic quality to a poem, thus making it lyrical. You could also vary the stress patterns – it doesn’t always have to be iambic – to avoid monotony.
Should you decide to make your love poem free of form, focus on these three things instead: imagery, emotion, and thought. Love poems, or any poem for that matter, must be image-making. To what do you compare your loved one? To a nightingale? To a rose? These images make it easy for your readers to create a mental picture of the poem’s persona and addressee.
Your poem must be emotion-evoking as well. Love can produce diverse reactions – it can bring forth nostalgia, pain, and indifference. To do this, you must write your lines as naturally as possible. Don’t attempt for superficiality. Just write what you feel like writing.
Finally, your love poem must be thought-provoking. At the end of the day, there are lessons to learn, nuggets of wisdom to glean. What do you want your readers to learn from your love poem? Are you telling them to move on from a bad breakup? Should they leave a contemptuous lover to his or her own devices? Should they keep the flame of desire alive? It is important that you underscore these themes, for these set your love poem apart from juvenile notions of romance.