Selected Poems

11+ Fascinating Poems About Desire That Will Make You Think

Last Updated: October 15, 2022

Desire is a strong feeling toward something we want or wish to have. We need desires in our lives, because it gives us purpose and directions. However, one must have a set of principles of his owns to not let his desires get out of hands and negatively impacts his life.

Desire is indeed a fascinating topic, and we’re going to explore it through the lens of poetry in today’s article. Here are 11 poems about desires that we’ve selected, let’s give it a read.

1. A Thousand Desires by Mirza Ghalib

Thousands of desires, each worth dying for…
Many of them I have realized…yet I yearn for more…

Why should my killer (lover) be afraid? No one will hold her responsible
For the blood which will continuously flow through my eyes all my life

We have heard about the dismissal of Adam from Heaven,
With a more humiliation, I am leaving the street on which you live…

Oh tyrant, your true personality will be known to all
If the curls of my hair slip through my turban!

But if someone wants to write her a letter, they can ask me,
Every morning I leave my house with my pen on my ear.

In that age, I turned to drinking (alcohol)
And then the time came when my entire world was occupied by alcohol

From whom I expected justice/praise for my weakness
Turned out to be more injured with the same cruel sword

When in love, there is little difference between life and death
We live by looking at the infidel who we are willing to die for

Put some pressure on your heart to remove that cruel arrow,
For if the arrow comes out, so will your heart…and your life.

For god’s sake, don’t lift the cover off any secrets you tyrant
The infidel might turn out to be my lover!

The preacher and the bar’s entrance are way apart
Yet I saw him entering the bar as I was leaving!

Thousands of desires, each worth dying for…
Many of them I have realized…yet I yearn for more

2. When My Desire by Ono no Komachi

When my desire
grows too fierce
I wear my bedclothes
inside out,
dark as the night’s rough husk.

3. Long Life Not To Be Desired by Sophocles

WHO, loving life, hath sought
To outrun the appointed span,
Shall be arraigned before my thought
For an infatuate man.
Since the added years entail
Much that is bitter; — joy
Flies out of ken, desire doth fail,
The wished-for moments cloy.
But when the troublous life,
Be it less or more, is past,
With power to end the strife
Comes rescuing Death at last.
Lo! the dark bridegroom waits! No festal choir
Shall grace his destined hour, no dance, no lyre!

Far best were ne’er to be;
But, once he hath seen the day,
Next best by far for each to flee
As swiftly as each may,
Yonder from whence he came;
For let but Youth be there
With her light fooleries, who shall name
The unnumbered brood of Care?
No trial spared, no fall!
Feuds, battles, murders, rage,
Envy, and last of all,
Despised, dim, friendless age!
Ay, there all evils, crowded in one room.
Each at his worst of ill, augments of gloom.

Such lot is mine, and round this man of woe,
As some gray headland of a northward shore
Bears buffets of all wintry winds that blow,
Fresh storms of Fate are bursting evermore
In thunderous billows, borne
Some from the waning light,
Some through mid-noon, some from the rising morn,
Some from the stars of Night.

4. Let These Be Your Desires by Khalil Gibran

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself
But if your love and must needs have desires,
Let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook
That sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
And give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer
For the beloved in your heart
And a song of praise upon your lips.

5. Love, Hope, Desire, And Fear by Percy Bysshe Shelley

And many there were hurt by that strong boy,
His name, they said, was Pleasure,
And near him stood, glorious beyond measure
Four Ladies who possess all empery
In earth and air and sea,
Nothing that lives from their award is free.
Their names will I declare to thee,
Love, Hope, Desire, and Fear,
And they the regents are
Of the four elements that frame the heart,
And each diversely exercised her art
By force or circumstance or sleight
To prove her dreadful might
Upon that poor domain.
Desire presented her [false] glass, and then
The spirit dwelling there
Was spellbound to embrace what seemed so fair
Within that magic mirror,
And dazed by that bright error,
It would have scorned the [shafts] of the avenger
And death, and penitence, and danger,
Had not then silent Fear
Touched with her palsying spear,
So that as if a frozen torrent
The blood was curdled in its current;
It dared not speak, even in look or motion,
But chained within itself its proud devotion.
Between Desire and Fear thou wert
A wretched thing, poor heart!
Sad was his life who bore thee in his breast,
Wild bird for that weak nest.
Till Love even from fierce Desire it bought,
And from the very wound of tender thought
Drew solace, and the pity of sweet eyes
Gave strength to bear those gentle agonies,
Surmount the loss, the terror, and the sorrow.
Then Hope approached, she who can borrow
For poor to-day, from rich tomorrow,
And Fear withdrew, as night when day
Descends upon the orient ray,
And after long and vain endurance
The poor heart woke to her assurance.
—At one birth these four were born
With the world’s forgotten morn,
And from Pleasure still they hold
All it circles, as of old.
When, as summer lures the swallow,
Pleasure lures the heart to follow–
O weak heart of little wit!
The fair hand that wounded it,
Seeking, like a panting hare,
Refuge in the lynx’s lair,
Love, Desire, Hope, and Fear,
Ever will be near.

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6. Desire by Matthew Arnold

Thou, who dost dwell alone;
Thou, who dost know thine own;
Thou, to whom all are known,
From the cradle to the grave,–
Save, O, save!

From the world’s temptations;
From tribulations;
From that fierce anguish
Wherein we languish;
From that torpor deep
Wherein we lie asleep,
Heavy as death, cold as the grave,–
Save, O, save!

When the soul, growing clearer,
Sees God no nearer;
When the soul, mounting higher,
To God comes no nigher;
But the arch-fiend Pride
Mounts at her side,
Foiling her high emprize,
Sealing her eagle eyes,
And, when she fain would soar,
Make idols to adore;
Changing the pure emotion
Of her high devotion,
To a skin-deep sense
Of her own eloquence;
Strong to deceive, strong to enslave,–
Save, O, save!

From the ingrained fashion
Of this earthly nature
That mars thy creature;
From grief, that is but passion;
From mirth, that is but feigning;
From tears, that bring no healing;
From wild and weak complaining;–
Thine old strength revealing,
Save, O, save!

From doubt, where all is doable,
Where wise men are not strong;
Where comfort turns to trouble;
Where just men suffer wrong;
Where sorrow treads on joy;
Where sweet things soonest cloy;
Where faiths are built on dust;
Where love is half mistrust,
Hungry, and barren, and sharp as the sea;
O, set us free!

O, let the false dream fly
Where our sick souls do lie,
Tossing continually.
O, where thy voice doth come,
Let all doubts be dumb;
Let all words be mild;
All strife be reconciled;
All pains beguiled.
Light brings no blindness;
Love no unkindness;
Knowledge no ruin;
Fear no undoing,
From the cradle to the grave,–
Save, O, save!

7. The Fruit Of Love’s Desire. by Robert Crawford

The fruit of love’s desire is sweet
For any man and maid to eat.
However ripened in time’s air,
No other can with it compare.
‘Tis like those apples ‘of such price,
No tree can ever bear them twice;’
And only two may share it, so
That they would all its sweetness know.
It is so fine and fair a thing
And eaten with such passioning,
The eaters seem themselves to be
Fed on each other’s mystery;
And when they have the sweet thing ate
Sigh for the lack of all things yet,
For once ’tis bitten to the core
The dearest dream of life is o’er,
And man and maid within time’s waste
Another such may never taste.

8. I’ve Lived To See Desire Vanish by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin

I’ve lived to see desire vanish,
With hope I’ve slowly come to part,
And I am left with only anguish,
The fruit of emptiness at heart.

Under the storms of merciless fate,
My worn and withered garland lies–
In sadness, lonesome, I await:
How far away is my demise?

Thus, conquered by a tardy frost,
Through gale’s whistling and shimmer,
Late, on a naked limb exposed
A lonesome leaf is left to quiver!…

9. A Heart’s Hidden Desire by Unknown Author

Does she not see the tears in my eyes?
The pain in my face,

The hurt in my cries,
Does she not notice my head held down?

The shame of it all………
All this sadness I drown,

Does she not feel the warmth of my smile?
The deep touch of my love,

The poison in its vile,
Can she even hear the beat of my heart’s frame?

Just listen……slowly………
Slowly, it slowly beats her name …………….

10. Desire by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
And but translates the language of the heart.

11. A Gift In Desire by Mary Wismer

Just a smile and grew into a kiss,

a friendship that had blossomed up to

more than I could wish, as there you are

my shining gleams as north star when you are

as you lead me in my way, you are my inspiration

me and yet of mine each day, see you when I

fall and need a hand into the resurrection

when I cry and need of resurgence from sinking

no matter where ever you lie I wish I were just

like you strong hearted, brave yet sweet

I’m glad I have a friend who makes my day as crown.

Final thoughts

I truly believe that you need desire and ambition to excel in life, but also need to keep your desires in check, so that they don’t control you. I hope that these poems about desire had given you some something to think about.

If you’re still looking for more poetry, check out these articles:

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