Some say that poetry is the most difficult form of writing: to express one’s thoughts and feelings in a minimum amount of words can definitely present a challenge. A poem is also a window into the writers’ soul and leaves them vulnerable.

Photo courtesy of Nikolay Frolochkin/Pixabay/NOW!JAKARTA

Many poets over the centuries have written about love in all forms: tragic love, unrequited love, true love, first love, forbidden love, playful love, enduring love, passionate love, erotic love – the possibilities are endless.

William Shakespeare, John Keats, John Donne, Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Pablo Neruda… ask one hundred different people what their favourite love poem is, and you will probably receive one hundred different answers. 

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, we have asked our readers to submit their own love poems. Among the many entries, we have chosen three winners. You can find them here, alongside two famous love poems that are the favourites of NOW! Jakarta’s editorial team.

Coffee By Nilo Jay de Guzman
I took a sip
You burned my tongue
Oh how it hurts
But you're so numb

The stains you left
Were just your marks
But the scars it made
Were my love's bark

You miss me, you need me
That I will always know

You may never admit it
But I won't let you go

The poem “Coffee” is dedicated to a special person who meets up for coffee with the writer every Wednesday. 

Survivor By Dyandra Benziverta
She does have the structure
of the ribs—crooked, and
cannot be fixed. Fragile,
yet she’s the most crucial
part of life. But she was
not made from Adam’s ribs.

She was no Eve. She was
not made to ease his loneliness,
nor to bring serenity because
she has no Adam in her life.

Then she gave birth to
another soul that clung
onto her like she was the only
shining light in the darkest night.

So she stayed and gave them
a wisdom of life. Leaving the
same dull life she had been
before them. Raised them
away from the life she lived
as if she can undo the bitter past.

The poem “Survivor” is dedicated to Dyandra’s mother, who is her role model and taught her everything in life despite the many hardships and challenges she had to overcome. 

How Do I Love Thee By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
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 every day’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 the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with 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.

Sonnet 116 By William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Love Bloomed By Pramod Kanakath
We were not teenagers
When we met in the lift;
We yearned to make up
What we lost in crazy years.
The lift formed our tryst
Going up and down
Passing glances
Then to diffident smiles.
Our eagerness was printed
In measured eye movements;
The palms were often wet
As though it were a 20’s love.
Then hands finally met
More closely than did the faces;
We hardly ever said
‘I love you’ to each other,
Heart’s language had whispered
It a hundred times
That an oral chatter
Would only be a coarse yell,
Or a rehearsed refrain.
But love did bloom
Love did bloom
Did bloom
Bloom. Love.

The poem “Love Bloomed” is dedicated to Pramod’s wife Lina. 


This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine February 2018 issue “Season of Love”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.

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The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta