Selected Poems

6 Beautiful Poems About The Human Heart

Last Updated: January 21, 2023

We all know that the human heart is a symbol of love. But have you ever stopped to think about how powerful and complex our hearts really are? These poems explore the many different aspects of human hearts, from love and sorrow to courage and hope. Whether you’re looking for a poem to express your own feelings or just want to appreciate the beauty of this complex organ, I hope you’ll find something here that speaks to your heart. So, without further ado, here are 6 beautiful poems about the human heart.

1. Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war (Sonnet 46) by William Shakespeare

Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war
How to divide the conquest of thy sight;

Shakespeare composed 154 sonnets throughout his lifetime, the forty-sixth of which is referred to as Sonnet 46, also known as Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war. In the opening lines of this poem, the speaker alternately describes how his eyes and heart stake claims on him. One is focused on appearances, while the other is engaged in deep love and passion.

To determine what is right in this circumstance, the speaker must gather a group of ideas. He comes to the conclusion that the desire for beauty and love can be claimed by both the heart and the eyes. Sonnets 46 and 47 have a close relationship. The former brings up the question of how to strike a balance between the eyes and the heart, and the latter offers a solution.

Shakespeare rejects the widely held belief that there is a conflict between the heart and the eye. The notion of warfare refers to a violent conflict between two completely different foreign sides. Shakespeare soon moves past such language and places his argument in the formal setting of a courtroom.

While the parties involved in a lawsuit are engaged in competition, they are not looking to eliminate their rivals. There is a social link that unites the opposing sides in a legal dispute. They are components of an identical whole, otherwise, they would not be subject to its laws. The same is true of the heart and the eyes, as well as of their metaphysical opposites, lust, and spiritual ties.

The heart and the eye are both organs of a body. The fundamental idea of love encompasses both physical and emotional attraction. Shakespeare’s final point is that the strong force that people recognize as love is created when physical attraction and emotional attachment come together.

2. The Heart asks Pleasure first by Emily Dickinson

The Heart asks Pleasure—first—
And then—Excuse from Pain—

In The Heart asks Pleasure first, Emily Dickinson explores what one’s “heart” ideally or primarily desires: pleasure. In the absence of such, however, the heart will be content to be exempt from anguish and to live a life free of pain. But if it doesn’t work, the heart asks for painkillers, or “Anodynes” (from the Greek for “without pain”), to make the pain go away. If those Anodynes don’t help, it’s preferable to go to sleep or become unconscious.

One step further from that, death is the only thing the heart still wants “liberty” to accomplish if sleep is unable to alleviate one’s problems. The only person who can assist us at that point is the Inquisitor, an ultimate religious figure such as God. The best painkiller is death. Naturally, it also destroys everything else, which is unfortunate.

However, the poem might not be that simple. We don’t worry about life’s challenges when we were young, so we can enjoy our youth and the best years of our lives. The continuation of pleasure is what we want most. Then comes a time when life loses its original allure and freshness, but if we’re lucky, we can still say that we maintain our health, therefore that is all we hope for.

As we age, we realize that we cannot escape pain, so we yearn for something to remove it. Then, all we want to do is fall asleep and forget about the world and our problems. Finally, we realize that our only alternative is “to die,” as there is no escaping our deteriorating condition. In a very short poem, Emily Dickinson describes everyday existence and the fundamental aspirations of the common person.

3. Song from Arcadia: “My True Love Hath My Heart” by Sir Philip Sidney

Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

My True Love Hath My Heart is one of Sir Philip Sidney’s most popular love poems. The speaker in the poem claims that her heart-to-heart commitment to her partner is the deal that could have been constructed. The two lovers lead each other and merge their hearts into one by trading their hearts and making promises to one another.

The shepherdess claimed that when her beloved first saw her, his heart was “wounded” as a result of Cupid shooting him with an arrow and inflicting him with love for her. The shepherdess fell in love with him when she realized how much he loved her.

4. Love After Love by Derek Walcott

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

The Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott’s poem Love After Love was first released in his collection Sea Grapes in 1976. This short poem is among Walcott’s most well-known works and it exhorts those who have experienced romantic disappointment to reconnect with their true selves. The poet implies that this journey of self-rediscovery will be at least as exciting—and probably even more fulfilling—than regular romance.

The speaker in the poem assures people who are grieving that they will rediscover happiness. They will achieve this by reconnecting with their genuine selves, an act the speaker relates to welcoming yourself to a dinner and smiling at yourself in the mirror or at the door.

The speaker goes on to say that this sensation is like falling in love with yourself again after a long separation. The speaker advises people who are grieving to develop a connection with and take care of the aspect of themselves they neglected during their previous relationship—the inner “friend” who understands and adores them totally.

I encourage anyone who has experienced a breakup or any other romantic dissatisfaction to read Love After Love, a poem of comfort. The speaker describes the healing process as one of re-connecting with and learning to love one’s inner self, assuring people that things are going to improve. According to this speaker, finding yourself again is the actual meaning of “love after love,” not finding a new spouse.

5. A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.

Written by Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, A Red, Red Rose is a poem that expresses the speaker’s intense love for his or her partner. It guarantees that this love will endure forever, outlasting all human life and even the earth itself.

The speaker compares his or her love to a newly blooming flower, saying that it is equally lovely, bright, and new. This love is as tender as a lovely song performed by a talented musician. The speaker has a profound and intense love that is so enduring that it will endure till the oceans have dried up. The speaker will continue to love the beloved even when oceans have vanished and the planet has deteriorated. This love will last until the end of their own lives as well as the end of all human life.

In order to end, the speaker bids farewell to the one and only person they have ever loved. During their brief separation, the speaker sends her best wishes. By vowing to come back even if the voyage is very long and very far away, the speaker reinforces his or her steadfast love.

6. Heart to Heart by Rita Dove

It’s neither red
nor sweet.
It doesn’t melt
or turn over,
break or harden,
so it can’t feel

Heart to Heart, a poem by Rita Dove, attempts to characterize the heart. The poem analyzes typical misconceptions about the heart via cliché and strives to establish the reality regarding what it means to feel, love, and profoundly connect with someone. It moves back and forth between the literal and the abstract, the real and the metaphorical to finally gets to the truth.

Dove declares at the beginning of this poem that a heart is “neither red nor sweet.” This contradicts widespread social perceptions of what a heart looks like. She keeps rejecting other common perceptions of a heart in the first stanza. Dove asserts that the heart does not represent sentiments or emotions. Although we frequently associate our hearts with our emotions, Dove challenges this notion.

Dove emphasizes that the heart is simply a “lopsided,” “thick clutch of muscle,” rather than a fancy thing as many people believe. Dove refutes the idea that the way we feel and love is determined by our hearts by bringing up the flaws in them and by referring to the actual heart that beats inside each and every one of us.

Dove continues by saying that despite that, she still wants to love and show her love to others. She claims that she is unable to truly express herself because she is unable to really see how her heart feels. However, she comes to the conclusion that her heart belongs to somebody else, and that person must accept her heart and herself completely.

Final thoughts

The human heart is a complex and mysterious organ that has been the focus of poets for centuries. These poems explore the range of emotions and experiences that come with having a heart, from love and joy to pain and loss. We hope you have enjoyed this collection of poems about the human heart, and have a great day!

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