Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Heartbroken poems. Poetry is how we say to the world, and to each other, “I am here.” Some of my most beloved poets — Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Billy Collins and Naomi Shihab Nye — talk about poetry as a way to document the world and our common experiences, to say what needs to be said in a direct, powerful and beautiful way.
Someone asked Billy Collins why that phenomenon was happening and he said: “Because poetry tells the story of the human heart.”
“Because poetry tells the story of the human heart.”
“The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.” Chiyo Sakamoto
“He loves where they have been and where they are. He does not love her future.” Robert Kelly
“Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath.” Emily Dickinson
These are examples of famous broken heart poems written by famous poets.
To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart;
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
The More Loving One by W. H. Auden
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
Be Near Me by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Be near me now,
My tormenter, my love, be near me—
At this hour when night comes down,
When, having drunk from the gash of sunset, darkness comes
With the balm of musk in its hands, its diamond lancets,
When it comes with cries of lamentation,
with laughter with songs;
Its blue-gray anklets of pain clinking with every step.
At this hour when hearts, deep in their hiding places,
Have begun to hope once more, when they start their vigil
For hands still enfolded in sleeves;
When wine being poured makes the sound
of inconsolable children
who, though you try with all your heart,
cannot be soothed.
When whatever you want to do cannot be done,
When nothing is of any use;
—At this hour when night comes down,
When night comes, dragging its long face,
dressed in mourning,
Be with me,
My tormenter, my love, be near me.
Anna, Thy Charms by Robert Burns
Anna, thy charms my bosom fire,
And waste my soul with care;
But ah! how bootless to admire,
When fated to despair!
Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair,
To hope may be forgiven;
For sure ’twere impious to despair
So much in sight of heaven.
They Flee From Me by Sir Thomas Wyatt
They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.
Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”
It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.
Passion by Kathleen Raine
Full of desire I lay, the sky wounding me,
Each cloud a ship without me sailing, each tree
Possessing what my soul lacked, tranquillity.
Waiting for the longed-for voice to speak
Through the mute telephone, my body grew weak
With the well-known and mortal death, heartbreak.
The language I knew best, my human speech
Forsook my fingers, and out of reach
Were Homer’s ghosts, the savage conches of the beach.
Then the sky spoke to me in language clear,
Familiar as the heart, than love more near.
The sky said to my soul, `You have what you desire.
`Know now that you are born along with these
Clouds, winds, and stars, and ever-moving seas
And forest dwellers. This your nature is.
Lift up your heart again without fear,
Sleep in the tomb, or breathe the living air,
This world you with the flower and with the tiger share.’
Then I saw every visible substance turn
Into immortal, every cell new born
Burned with the holy fire of passion.
This world I saw as on her judgment day
When the war ends, and the sky rolls away,
And all is light, love and eternity.
At Ease by Walter de la Mare
Most wounds can Time repair;
But some are mortal — these:
For a broken heart there is no balm,
No cure for a heart at ease —
At ease, but cold as stone,
Though the intellect spin on,
And the feat and practiced face may show
Nought of the life that is gone;
But smiles, as by habit taught;
And sighs, as by custom led;
And the soul within is safe from damnation,
Since it is dead.
Autobiography by Nazim Hikmet
I was born in 1902
I never once went back to my birthplace
I don’t like to turn back
at three I served as a pasha’s grandson in Aleppo
at nineteen as a student at Moscow Communist University
at forty-nine I was back in Moscow as the Tcheka Party’s guest
and I’ve been a poet since I was fourteen
some people know all about plants some about fish
I know separation
some people know the names of the stars by heart
I recite absences
I’ve slept in prisons and in grand hotels
I’ve known hunger even a hunger strike and there’s almost no food
I haven’t tasted
at thirty they wanted to hang me
at forty-eight to give me the Peace Prize
which they did
at thirty-six I covered four square meters of concrete in half a year
at fifty-nine I flew from Prague to Havana in eighteen hours
I never saw Lenin I stood watch at his coffin in ’24
in ’61 the tomb I visit is his books
they tried to tear me away from my party
it didn’t work
nor was I crushed under the falling idols
in ’51 I sailed with a young friend into the teeth of death
in ’52 I spent four months flat on my back with a broken heart
waiting to die
I was jealous of the women I loved
I didn’t envy Charlie Chaplin one bit
I deceived my women
I never talked my friends’ backs
I drank but not every day
I earned my bread money honestly what happiness
out of embarrassment for others I lied
I lied so as not to hurt someone else
but I also lied for no reason at all
I’ve ridden in trains planes and cars
most people don’t get the chance
I went to opera
most people haven’t even heard of the opera
and since ’21 I haven’t gone to the places most people visit
mosques churches temples synagogues sorcerers
but I’ve had my coffee grounds read
my writings are published in thirty or forty languages
in my Turkey in my Turkish they’re banned
cancer hasn’t caught up with me yet
and nothing says it will
I’ll never be a prime minister or anything like that
and I wouldn’t want such a life
nor did I go to war
or burrow in bomb shelters in the bottom of the night
and I never had to take to the road under diving planes
but I fell in love at almost sixty
in short comrades
even if today in Berlin I’m croaking of grief
I can say I’ve lived like a human being
and who knows
how much longer I’ll live
what else will happen to me
This autobiography was written
in east Berlin on 11 September 1961
You Cant Can Love by Robert William Service
I don’t know how the fishes feel, but I can’t help thinking it odd,
That a gay young flapper of a female eel should fall in love with a cod.
Yet – that’s exactly what she did and it only goes to prove,
That’ what evr you do you can’t put the lid on that crazy feeling Love.
Now that young tom-cod was a dreadful rake, and he had no wish to wed,
But he feared that her foolish heart would break, so this is what he said:
“Some fellows prize a woman’s eyes, and some admire her lips,
While some have a taste for a tiny waist, but – me, what I like is HIPS.
“So you see, my dear,” said that gay tom-cod, “Exactly how I feel;
Oh I hate to be unkind but I know my mind, and there ain’t no hips on an eel.
“Alas! that’s true,” said the foolish fish, as she blushed to her finny tips:
“And with might and main, though it gives me pain, I’ll try to develop hips.
So day and night with all her might she physical culturized;
But alas and alack, in the middle of her back no hump she recognized.
So – then she knew that her love eclipse was fated from the start;
For you never yet saw an eel with hips, so she died of a broken heart.
Oh you’ve gotta hand it out to Love, to Love you can’t can Love
You’ll find it from the bottom of the briny deep to the blue above.
From the Belgin hare to the Polar Bear, and the turtle dove,
You can look where you please, But from elephant to fleas,
You’ll never put the lid on Love.
You can look where you choose, But from crabs to kangaroos,
You’ll never put the lid on Love.
You can look where you like, But from polywogs to pike,
You’ll never put the lid on Love.
You can look where you please, But from buffalo to bees,
You’ll never put the lid on Love.
In the Droving Days by Andrew Barton Paterson
“Only a pound,” said the auctioneer,
“Only a pound; and I’m standing here
Selling this animal, gain or loss —
Only a pound for the drover’s horse?
One of the sort that was ne’er afraid,
One of the boys of the Old Brigade;
Thoroughly honest and game, I’ll swear,
Only a little the worse for wear;
Plenty as bad to be seen in town,
Give me a bid and I’ll knock him down;
Sold as he stands, and without recourse,
Give me a bid for the drover’s horse.
Loitering there in an aimless way
Somehow I noticed the poor old grey,
Weary and battered and screwed, of course;
Yet when I noticed the old grey horse,
The rough bush saddle, and single rein
Of the bridle laid on his tangled mane,
Straighway the crowd and the auctioneer
Seemed on a sudden to disappear,
Melted away in a kind if haze —
For my heart went back to the droving days.
Back to the road, and I crossed again
Over the miles of the saltbush plain —
The shining plain that is said to be
The dried-up bed of an inland sea.
Where the air so dry and so clear and bright
Refracts the sun with a wondrous light,
And out in the dim horizon makes
The deep blue gleam of the phantom lakes.
At dawn of day we could feel the breeze
That stirred the boughs of the sleeping trees,
And brought a breath of the fragrance rare
That comes and goes in that scented air;
For the trees and grass and the shrubs contain
A dry sweet scent on the saltbush plain.
for those that love it and understand
The saltbush plain is a wonderland,
A wondrous country, were Nature’s ways
Were revealed to me in the droving days.
We saw the fleet wild horses pass,
And kangaroos through the Mitchell grass;
The emu ran with her frightened brood
All unmolested and unpursued.
But there rose a shout and a wild hubbub
When the dingo raced for his native scrub,
And he paid right dear for his stolen meals
With the drovers’ dogs at his wretched heels.
For we ran him down at a rattling pace,
While the pack-horse joined in the stirring chase.
And a wild halloo at the kill we’d raise —
We were light of heart in the droving days.
‘Twas a drover’s horse, and my hand again
Made a move to close on a fancied rein.
For I felt a swing and the easy stride
Of the grand old horse that I used to ride.
In drought or plenty, in good or ill,
The same old steed was my comrade still;
The old grey horse with his honest ways
Was a mate to me in the droving days.
When we kept our watch in the cold and damp,
If the cattle broke from the sleeping camp,
Over the flats and across the plain,
With my head bent down on his waving mane,
Through the boughs above and the stumps below,
On the darkest night I could let him go
At a racing speed; he would choose his course,
And my life was safe with the old grey horse.
But man and horse had a favourite job,
When an outlaw broke from the station mob;
With a right good will was the stockwhip plied,
As the old horse raced at the straggler’s side,
And the greenhide whip such a weal would raise —
We could use the whip in the droving days.
“Only a pound!” and was this the end —
Only a pound for the drover’s friend.
The drover’s friend that has seen his day,
And now was worthless and cast away
With a broken knee and a broken heart
To be flogged and starved in a hawker’s cart.
Well, I made a bid for a sense of shame
And the memories of the good old game.
“Thank you? Guinea! and cheap at that!
Against you there in the curly hat!
Only a guinea, and one more chance,
Down he goes if there’s no advance,
Third, and last time, one! two! three!”
And the old grey horse was knocked down to me.
And now he’s wandering, fat and sleek,
On the lucerne flats by the Homestead Creek;
I dare not ride him for fear he’s fall,
But he does a journey to beat them all,
For though he scarcely a trot can raise,
He can take me back to the droving days.
Doctor Meyers by Edgar Lee Masters
No other man, unless it was Doc Hill,
Did more for people in this town than l.
And all the weak, the halt, the improvident
And those who could not pay flocked to me.
I was good-hearted, easy Doctor Meyers.
I was healthy, happy, in comfortable fortune,
Blest with a congenial mate, my children raised,
All wedded, doing well in the world.
And then one night, Minerva, the poetess,
Came to me in her trouble, crying.
I tried to help her out — she died —
They indicted me, the newspapers disgraced me,
My wife perished of a broken heart.
And pneumonia finished me.
A New Being by George William Russell
I KNOW myself no more, my child,
Since thou art come to me,
Pity so tender and so wild
Hath wrapped my thoughts of thee.
These thoughts, a fiery gentle rain,
Are from the Mother shed,
Where many a broken heart hath lain
And many a weeping head.
Dream Song 134: Sick at 6 and sick again at 9 by John Berryman
Sick at 6 & sick again at 9
was Henry’s gloomy Monday morning oh.
Still he had to lecture.
They waited, his little children, for stricken Henry
to rise up yet once more again and come oh.
They figured he was a fixture,
nuts to their bolds, keys to their bloody locks.
One day the whole affair will fall apart
with a rustle of fire,
a wrestle of undoing, as of tossed clocks,
and somewhere not far off a broken heart
He had smoked a pack of cigarettes by 10
& was ready to go.
Peace to his ashes then,
with all this gas & shit blowing through it
four times in 2 hours, his tail ached.
He arose, benign, & performed.
320. Lines to Sir John Whitefoord Bart by Robert Burns
THOU, who thy honour as thy God rever’st,
Who, save thy mind’s reproach, nought earthly fear’st,
To thee this votive offering I impart,
The tearful tribute of a broken heart.
The Friend thou valued’st, I, the Patron lov’d;
His worth, his honour, all the world approved:
We’ll mourn till we too go as he has gone,
And tread the shadowy path to that dark world unknown.
The Things We Dare Not Tell by
The fields are fair in autumn yet, and the sun’s still shining there,
But we bow our heads and we brood and fret, because of the masks we wear;
Or we nod and smile the social while, and we say we’re doing well,
But we break our hearts, oh, we break our hearts! for the things we must not tell.
There’s the old love wronged ere the new was won, there’s the light of long ago;
There’s the cruel lie that we suffer for, and the public must not know.
So we go through life with a ghastly mask, and we’re doing fairly well,
While they break our hearts, oh, they kill our hearts! do the things we must not tell.
We see but pride in a selfish breast, while a heart is breaking there;
Oh, the world would be such a kindly world if all men’s hearts lay bare!
We live and share the living lie, we are doing very well,
While they eat our hearts as the years go by, do the things we dare not tell.
We bow us down to a dusty shrine, or a temple in the East,
Or we stand and drink to the world-old creed, with the coffins at the feast;
We fight it down, and we live it down, or we bear it bravely well,
But the best men die of a broken heart for the things they cannot tell.
Last Week by
Oh, the new-chum went to the backblock run,
But he should have gone there last week.
He tramped ten miles with a loaded gun,
But of turkey of duck saw never a one,
For he should have been there last week,
There were flocks of ’em there last week.
He wended his way to a waterfall,
And he should have gone there last week.
He carried a camera, legs and all,
But the day was hot and the stream was small,
For he should have gone there last week,
They drowned a man there last week.
He went for a drive, and he made a start,
Which should have been made last week,
For the old horse died of a broken heart;
So he footed it home and he dragged the cart —
But the horse was all right last week,
He trotted a match last week.
So he asked all the bushies who came from afar
To visit the town last week
If the’d dine with him, and they said “Hurrah!”
But there wasn’t a drop in the whisky jar —
You should have been here last week,
I drank it all up last week!
Psalm 51 part 3 by
The backslider restored.
O Thou that hear’st when sinners cry,
Though all my crimes before thee lie,
Behold them not with angry look,
But blot their mem’ry from thy book.
Create my nature pure within,
And form my soul averse to sin:
Let thy good Spirit ne’er depart,
Nor hide thy presence from my heart.
I cannot live without thy light
Cast out and banished from thy sight:
Thine holy joys, my God, restore,
And guard me that I fall no more.
Though I have grieved thy Spirit, Lord,
His help and comfort still afford;
And let a wretch come near thy throne,
To plead the merits of thy Son.
A broken heart, my God, my King,
Is all the sacrifice I bring;
The God of grace will ne’er despise
A broken heart for sacrifice.
My soul lies humbled in the dust,
And owns thy dreadful sentence just:
Look down, O Lord, with pitying eye,
And save the soul condemned to die.
Then will I teach the world thy ways;
Sinners shall learn thy sovereign grace;
I’ll lead them to my Savior’s blood,
And they shall praise a pard’ning God.
O may thy love inspire my tongue!
Salvation shall be all my song;
And all my powers shall join to bless
The Lord, my strength and righteousness.
Unto a broken heart by
Unto a broken heart
No other one may go
Without the high prerogative
Itself hath suffered too.
The Broken Heart by William Barnes
News o’ grief had overteaken
Dark-eyed Fanny, now vorseaken;
There she zot, wi’ breast a-heaven,
While vrom zide to zide, wi’ grieven,
Vell her head, wi’ tears a-creepen
Down her cheaks, in bitter weepen.
There wer still the ribbon-bow
She tied avore her hour ov woe,
An’ there wer still the hans that tied it
Or wringen tight,
In ceare that drowned all ceare bezide it.
When a man, wi’ heartless slighten,
Mid become a maiden’s blighten,
He mid cearelessly vorseake her,
But must answer to her Meaker;
He mid slight, wi’ selfish blindness,
All her deeds o’ loven-kindness,
God wull waigh ’em wi’ the slighten
That mid be her love’s requiten;
He do look on each deceiver,
He do know
What weight o’ woe
Do break the heart ov ev’ry griever.
When you read famous short poems that really get to the core of what you’re feeling, you’ll understand the pain of heartbreak and the journey of healing.
Deep poems about heartbreak that make you cry will help you get through hard times.
“What my Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why” By Edna St. Vincent Millay
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
“Never Give All the Heart” by W. B. Yeats
Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.
“Sonnet 87” by William Shakespeare
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou knowst thy estimate.
The Charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting,
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thy self thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking,
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter:
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.
“I Made a Mistake” by Charles Bukowski
I made a mistake
I reached up into the top of the closet
and took out a pair of blue panties
and showed them to her and
asked “are these yours?”
and she looked and said,
“no, those belong to a dog.”
she left after that and I haven’t seen
her since. she’s not at her place.
I keep going there, leaving notes stuck
into the door. I go back and the notes
are still there. I take the Maltese cross
cut it down from my car mirror, tie it
to her doorknob with a shoelace, leave
a book of poems.
when I go back the next night everything
is still there.
I keep searching the streets for that
last blood-wine battleship she drives
with a weak battery, and the doors
hanging from broken hinges.
I drive around the streets
an inch away from weeping,
ashamed of my sentimentality and
a confused old man driving in the rain
wondering where the good luck
“You Fit Into Me” by Margaret Atwood
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
“You are Tired (I think)” by E. E. Cummings
You are tired,
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)
You have played,
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
So am I.
But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.
Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.
“Resignation” by Nikki Giovanni
I love you
because the Earth turns round the sun
because the North wind blows north
because the Pope is Catholic
and most Rabbis Jewish
because the winters flow into springs
and the air clears after a storm
because only my love for you
despite the charms of gravity
keeps me from falling off this Earth
into another dimension
I love you
because it is the natural order of things
I love you
like the habit I picked up in college
of sleeping through lectures
or saying I’m sorry
when I get stopped for speeding
because I drink a glass of water
in the morning
and chain-smoke cigarettes
all through the day
because I take my coffee Black
and my milk with chocolate
because you keep my feet warm
though my life a mess
I love you
because I don’t want it
any other way
I am helpless
in my love for you
It makes me so happy
to hear you call my name
I am amazed you can resist
locking me in an echo chamber
where your voice reverberates
through the four walls
sending me into spasmatic ecstasy
I love you
because it’s been so good
for so long
that if I didn’t love you
I’d have to be born again
and that is not a theological statement
I am pitiful in my love for you
The Dells tell me Love
is so simple
the thought though of you
sends indescribably delicious multitudinous
thrills throughout and through-in my body
I love you
because no two snowflakes are alike
and it is possible
if you stand tippy-toe
to walk between the raindrops
I love you
because I am afraid of the dark
and can’t sleep in the light
because I rub my eyes
when I wake up in the morning
and find you there
because you with all your magic powers were
I should love you
because there was nothing for you but that
I would love you
I love you
because you made me
want to love you
more than I love my privacy
my freedom my commitments
I love you ’cause I changed my life
to love you
because you saw me one Friday
afternoon and decided that I would
I love you I love you I love you
“Sonnet 139” by William Shakespeare
O, call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye but with thy tongue;
Use power with power, and slay me not by art.
Tell me thou lov’st elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside;
What need’st thou wound with cunning when thy might
Is more than my o’erpressed defense can bide?
Let me excuse thee: ah, my love well knows
Her pretty looks have been mine enemies;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
That they elsewhere might dart their injuries—
Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,
Kill me outright with looks and rid my pain.
“Love, I’m Done with You” by Ross Gay
You ever wake up with your footie PJs warming
your neck like a noose? Ever upchuck
after a home-cooked meal? Or notice
how the blood on the bottoms of your feet
just won’t seem to go away? Love, it used to be
you could retire your toothbrush for like two or three days and still
I’d push my downy face into your neck. Used to be
I hung on your every word. (Sing! you’d say: and I was a bird.
Freedom! you’d say: and I never really knew what that meant,
but liked the way it rang like a rusty bell.) Used to be. But now
I can tell you your breath stinks and you’re full of shit.
You have more lies about yourself than bodies
beneath your bed. Rooting
for the underdog. Team player. Hook,
line and sinker. Love, you helped design the brick
that built the walls around the castle
in the basement of which is a vault
inside of which is another vault
inside of which . . . you get my point. Your tongue
is made of honey but flicks like a snake’s. Voice
like a bird but everyone’s ears are bleeding.
From the inside your house shines
and shines, but from outside you can see
it’s built from bones. From out here it looks
like a graveyard, and the garden’s
all ash. And besides,
your breath stinks. We’re through.
“Proud Of My Broken Heart” by Emily Dickinson
Proud of my broken heart, since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee,
Proud of my night, since thou with moons dost slake it,
Not to partake thy passion, my humility.
Thou can’st not boast, like Jesus, drunken without companion
Was the strong cup of anguish brewed for the Nazarene
Thou can’st not pierce tradition with the peerless puncture,
See! I usurped thy crucifix to honor mine!
“The Fist” by Derek Walcott
This fist clenched round my heart
loosens a little, and I gasp
brightness; but it tightens
again. When have I ever not loved
the pain of love? But this has moved
past love to mania. This has the strong
clench of the madman, this is
gripping the ledge of unreason, before
plunging howling into the abyss.
Hold hard then, heart. This way at least you live.
“This Was Once a Love Poem” by Jane Hirschfeld
This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.
It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.
Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.
Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.
It spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
“Are All The Breakups In Your Poems Real?” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
If by real you mean as real as a shark tooth stuck
in your heel, the wetness of a finished lollipop stick,
the surprise of a thumbtack in your purse—
then Yes, every last page is true, every nuance,
bit, and bite. Wait. I have made them up—all of them—
and when I say I am married, it means I married
all of them, a whole neighborhood of past loves.
Can you imagine the number of bouquets, how many
slices of cake? Even now, my husbands plan a great meal
for us—one chops up some parsley, one stirs a bubbling pot
on the stove. One changes the baby, and one sleeps
in a fat chair. One flips through the newspaper, another
whistles while he shaves in the shower, and every single
one of them wonders what time I am coming home.
If you’re searching for poems about missing someone that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of poems about forgiveness, recovery poems, and good night poem.