The Oracle of Love Poetry

Love poetry and a picnic can be yours too

If you’ve never believed you get to choose your dream man, then you may not have given serious thought to how you go about it. If you wander around my blog, you’ll find lots of information on how to visualize your own dream man, which is one of the first steps to attracting him into your life for real. It all starts with clarity—figuring out exactly what qualities in a partner will be the best match for you.

Now you may think you already know what you want in your dream guy, and perhaps you do. But if the only guys you’ve ever dated are falling far short of your ideal, maybe you want to take another look at what those ideals really are.

Here’s a fun way to uncover some qualities you respond to. Start reading love poetry of all types from many different eras. Any library or bookseller will have collections of love poems to choose from, such as this one by Leslie Pockell. Some of them will seem dated or corny. Some of them may make you laugh instead of swoon because they feel too florid or over-the-top. That’s okay; it’s part of the process. If you read enough different kinds of love poems, though, eventually some of them are bound to give you that happy feeling…and make you wish there was someone special in your life who was sending you poems like that.

Unconditional Love

Once you’ve identified which kind of poetry rings your chimes, analyze it to see what aspects of the poem appeal to you. For instance, you might respond to one of the most popular love poems of all time, How Do I Love Thee?

How Do I Love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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 candlelight.
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.

The line that really gets me is in the first stanza: “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.” That speaks to me of an unconditional love, but also I think it describes someone who is open emotionally, who isn’t shut down or buttoned down. We all know that men can be challenged in the area of emotional expression, and many of us have come to accept that we just won’t ever find a guy who is comfortable showing his feelings. If you respond to this type of love poetry, it might be telling you that you value that kind of intensity and that you shouldn’t compromise. Think about other art forms that express passion, go where those are created or performed, and you may find men there who share your tastes. Try poetry readings, opera, theatre groups…you get the idea.

Dramatic Love

Let’s look at a different sort of love poem, La Vita Nuova:

La Vita Nuova
by Dante Alighieri

In that book which is
My memory . . .
On the first page
That is the chapter when
I first met you
Appear the words . . .
Here begins a new life

This one speaks to the first meeting of someone new and the kind of powerful effect it can have. Of course this is a classic romantic notion, falling in love at first sight—or at least in retrospect equating the first meeting with starting your life anew. If this poem resonates with you, it might be telling you that you enjoy a bit of drama in your relationship. (Not drama as in on-again-off-again relationships or guys who have anger management issues.) I’m talking about a man who has a flair for expressing himself in dramatic ways, whether by words or actions or both. For example, this sort of dream guy might like to surprise you with exotic dates, or at the very least, spirit you away from your office for a secluded picnic lunch, complete with tablecloth, flowers and tasty delicacies. High drama would be the scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere jets off with Julia Roberts to the San Francisco opera for the evening. That one’s probably not too realistic a goal, but a man who scores high along the drama continuum may be just what you truly want—but have never dared to actually seek. Give yourself permission to add that to your image of your ideal man.

Passionate Love

Perhaps you prefer more modern poetry, something more physical, less ethereal. Here’s part of a poem called: in spite of everything, by ee cummings:

in spite of everything
by ee cummings

before leaving my room
I turn, and (stooping
through the morning) kiss
this pillow, dear
where our heads lived and were.

Maybe it’s someone with a deep level of passion, someone with a strong zest for sexual expression who warms your blood. Many women assume that most men want all the sex they can get. In truth, however, men have just as much variation in the desire department as women do. If you responded to this love poem, then it may be important to you that your dream man has a sustained interest in an ongoing physical relationship, one that lasts well beyond the courtship phase. Keep observing him objectively or perhaps a frank discussion at some point may help you determine if the guy under consideration shares your level of passion. Make it a habit to allow yourself to dream big about what really matters to you.

For another great way to get clear on the attributes you want in a partner, check out my unique tool, the Online Story Creator.

Do Love and Life Differently: What kinds of moments evoke yearnings or warm your heart in love poetry, musical lyrics, movies, novels, or just watching other couples? There you’ll find clues about what you deeply desire.

What are some of your favorite love poems? Have you found fun ways to share them with men? Please add your comment below.

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