TCS When Time is All We Have: Short-ish Love Poems

Good Morning!


Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other,
but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Whether you like the idea of a day devoted to Love, or you think it’s just a conspiracy between the candy makers, the florists, and the card companies, it’s the time of year when Love, especially Romantic and True Love, is on many people’s minds.

So here are some poems that aren’t too long.

They may inspire you to say something lovely to someone who is already very special in your life, or to a person you’d really like to be your special someone. Or if you’re in recovery from love gone bad, perhaps they will give you a bit of hope for the next time.


These first two poems are from one of my favorite websites:

Song for Sex

by Angeline Schellenberg

Oh, mashup of poetry and friction,
all here-ness and bungle,
here’s to years of trust, flashes of huzzah,
the grudging forgiveness,
and the halleluiah.

Angeline Schellenberg, author of Tell Them It Was Mozart (Brick Books, 2016), lives in Winnipeg, Canada, with her husband, two teenagers, and a German Shepherd-Corgi.

– – – – – – – – –

Broken Lamp

by Steve Klepetar 

Last night
we broke
the lamp

but when
I woke
you were
still asleep

your lovely
face in
shadow, so

I watched
a while,
marveling at
your quiet

breaths, the
streaming of
your hair.

There is no video of Steve Klepetar dancing in college.

This poem is by former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove:


by Rita Dove

After all, there’s no need
to say anything

at first. An orange, peeled
and quartered, flares

like a tulip on a wedgewood plate
Anything can happen.

Outside the sun
has rolled up her rugs

and night strewn salt
across the sky. My heart

is humming a tune
I haven’t heard in years!

Quiet’s cool flesh—
let’s sniff and eat it.

There are ways
to make of the moment

a topiary
so the pleasure’s in

walking through.

“Flirtation” from Museum © 1983 by Rita Dove  – Carnegie Mellon University Press

Rita Dove (1952 – ) was born in Akron, Ohio; American poet and essayist; winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Thomas and Beulah; U.S. Library of Congress Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, (1993-1995), the first African-American (after the title change from Poetry Consultant to Poet Laureate), and at age 40, the youngest poet to be appointed Poet Laureate by the Librarian of Congress. Her poetry collections include The Yellow House on the Corner, Mother Love, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, and American Smooth.


[love is more thicker than forget] 

by e. e. cummings

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

[love is more thicker than forget] from Complete Poems 1904-1962, © 1926, 1954, 1991 by the Trustees for the E.E. Cummings Trust – Liveright

e.e. cummings  (1894-1962) born as Edward Estlin Cummings in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He studied Latin and Greek at Cambridge Latin High School, then got his BA and MA from Harvard, so he knew all the “rules” of grammar and of poetry, and threw most of them out. Poet and Critic Randall Jarrell declared, “No one else has ever made avant-garde, experimental poems so attractive to the general and the special reader.” His many poetry collections include: Tulips & Chimneys; &; no thanks; and 1 X 1.

For those who are going solo by choice or mischance:


by Jill Alexander Essbaum

A clementine
Of inclement climate
Grows tart.

A crocus
Too stoic to open,

Like an oyster
That cloisters a spoil of pearls,

The heart that’s had
Stays shut.

“Poem” appeared in Poetry magazine, December 2009 issue – © 2009 by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Jill Alexander Essbaum (1971 – ) American poet, novelist, and professor born in Bay City, Texas. She teaches at the University of California Riverside Palm Desert Graduate Center in the Masters of Creative Writing Graduate Program. Her debut novel, Hausfrau, was published in 2015. Her poetry collections include Heaven, Oh Forbidden, Harlot, and Necropolis. She was honored with the 1992 Bakeless Nason Poetry Prize by the Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.


Love Listen

by Ann Gray

Let’s love, listen, take time
when time is all we have.
Let’s be unafraid to be kind,
learn to disregard the bad
if the good outweighs it daily.
Let’s make a gift of silence,
the day’s hushing into dark,
and when we hold each other
let’s always be astonished
we are where we want to be.
Let’s hope to age together,
but if we can’t, let’s promise now
to remember how we shone
when we were at our best,
when we were most ourselves.

“Love Listen” was originally published in The Guardian newspaper in April 2011

Ann Gray, a British poet who grew up in Cambridge, has published several poetry collections, including Painting Skin, The Man I Was Promised, and At The Gate.  She won the Ballymaloe Poetry Prize in 2014.

A Yuefu folk poem of Han Dynasty

I want to be your love for ever and ever,
Without break or decay.
When the hills are all flat,
The rivers are all dry.
When it thunders in winter,
When it snows in summer
When heaven and earth mingle,
Not till then will I part from you.

Yuefu is a Chinese poetry genre. The word yuefu translates as “music bureau” – which refers to the imperial Chinese government organization tasked with collecting or writing folk song style lyrics. The bureau was started during the Han dynasty (202 BCE-220 CD).  Later, yuefu was also applied to literary imitations or adaptations of the Music Bureau’s poems.   


And one of my own:

Marriage Poem

by Nona Blyth Cloud

We have been married
   37 days,
      2 hours,
         12 minutes
            and 24 seconds . . .
            . . . 25 . . . 26 . . . . . .

It seems shorter.
   Time sucks our joy greedily,
sipping our bitter hours at his leisure.

It seems longer.
   How many lifetimes
      have we been lovers?

We married at noon,
   when the light is brightest,
         and shadows thin,
               halo edges . . .

May it always be so.

© 1983 by Nona Blyth Cloud





About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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3 Responses to TCS When Time is All We Have: Short-ish Love Poems

  1. Some unusual and memorable poems, Nona, and I love yours!

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