Poems from The Love Book

10 February 2014
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The Love Book: Classic and Contemporary Poems

Allie Esiri's new book is a treasure trove of both contemporary and classic poems, letters and prose 'on the wonderful (but troublesome) theme of love'. From William Shakespeare to Carol Ann Duffy, the book encompasses all kinds of literature on love and makes for a heart-warming read just in time for Valentine's Day.

Every day this week we'll be adding a new love poem that warmed the cockles of our Glossy hearts.

Click through the gallery to read a few of our favourites...

All poems are taken from  The Love Book  by Allie Esiri (£20)

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She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night 
        Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 
    And all that's best of dark and bright 
        Meet in her aspect and her eyes: 
    Thus mellowed to that tender light 
        Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 

    One shade the more, one ray the less, 
        Had half impaired the nameless grace 
    Which waves in every raven tress, 
        Or softly lightens o'er her face; 
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express, 
        How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 

    And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, 
        So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, 
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 
        But tell of days in goodness spent, 
    A mind at peace with all below, 
        A heart whose love is innocent!

George Gordon, Lord Byron

All poems are taken from  The Love Book  by Allie Esiri (£20)

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A Glimpse

A glimpse through an interstice caught,

Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room around the stove late of a winter night, and I unremark'd seated in a corner;

Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching and seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand,

A long while, amid the noises of coming and going--of drinking and oath and smutty jest,

There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little, perhaps not a word.

Walt Whitman

All poems are taken from  The Love Book  by Allie Esiri (£20)

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A Marriage

A marriage... makes of two fractional lives a whole;

It gives two purposeless lives a work,

And doubles the strength of each to perform it;

It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living

And something to live for;

It will give new gladness to the sunshine,

A new fragrance to the flowers,

A new beauty to the earth,

And a new mystery to life.

Mark Twain

All poems are taken from  The Love Book  by Allie Esiri (£20)

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One Perfect Rose

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.

All tenderly his messenger he chose;

Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet

One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;

'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'

Love long has taken for his amulet

One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet

One perfect limousine, do you suppose?

Ah no, it's always just my luck to get

One perfect rose.

Dorothy Parker

All poems are taken from  The Love Book  by Allie Esiri (£20)

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from The Velveteen Rabbit

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Margery Williams

All poems are taken from  The Love Book  by Allie Esiri (£20)

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