The Ten Greatest Love Poems Ever Written

by on January 27, 2024 :: 1 comment

sit in front of me. They don’t look nervous.
They look a bit exhausted. It’s been centuries
for some of them where they’ve been
one of The Ten Greatest Love Poems
Ever Written, so they’re a bit bored with it
at this point. One poem looks at me, though,
with an expression like, What am I doing here?
I want to hug that poem, try to say some words
of encouragement, how, in fact, it just might be
The Greatest of The Ten Greatest Love Poems
Ever Written. But I worry about that word Great.
It reminds me of political jingoism. It reminds me
of grate. And even the word Poem is weird too.
It comes from the Greek for fiction. It’d be funny
if the word fiction comes from the Greek for poem.
I’m Greek. I’m weird. I look at the poems and

they’re all English. The Ten Greatest Love Poems
Ever Written all live not too far from London.
I don’t believe it. I’m wondering if the critic
who made the list is from London. I call up
the critic for The Ten Greatest Love Poems
Ever Written and he says, “Hello?” with a tone
of accusation. I say, “Hi, my name’s Ron.”
And the critic for The Ten Greatest Love Poems
Ever Written says, “I don’t like that name.
I think we should switch that name. How about
Drayton?” I try to explain that my name’s not
Drayton and the critic for The Ten Greatest Love
Poems Ever Written tells me I should also say
“Hi” with much more enthusiasm. He tells me
to start again from the beginning. I say that,
no, “I’m just trying to find out if you’re from

London.” And the critic tells me that is an
atrocious sentence, an awful sentence, that
the English language wasn’t discovered in order
to be brutalized, that it wasn’t unearthed from
the catacombs just so that people like me could
bury it. And I interrupt and say that I think
the critic might give a more accurate list of
The Ten Greatest Hate Poems Ever Written
and I hang up. The Ten Greatest Love Poems
Ever Written, of course, heard all of this, so
“How Do I Love Thee,” by Elizabeth Barrett
Browning comes up to me and puts her arms
around me and starts crying. I ask her where
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is and the poem
tells me, “Why, she’s dead. She died in 1806
of what they think might’ve been hypokalemic

periodic paralysis.” That’s awful, I say. “Well,
it’s going to happen to you too, one day, maybe
not that, but something else. It’s inevitable.”
And that’s when “Love’s Philosophy,” by
Percy Bysshe Shelley said, “Come now, we
are not The Ten Greatest Death Poems Ever
Written, let’s not be so morbid.” And Elizabeth
Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee,”
said, “What kind of a name is Bysshe? It sounds
like the sound a tire makes when it’s punctured.”
That’s when “Annabel Lee,” by Edgar Allan Poe
came over, a bit tipsy, and I said, “Poe? I didn’t
know you were here. I love Poe.” “Annabel
Lee” blushed. I could hear the sea the closer
they came—her, and the sea, and, yes, Poe, too,
emerging from the fog, and I hugged him, long.

editors note:

Proof that lists are totally subjective constructs and poems have a lot more to say if we listen. – mh clay

Comments 1

  1. Marie Higgins

    Such invention here; my imagination listens to a few of the top-10 speak through this amazing run-on, perfect-length verse, so much so that I read another one, and determined the characterization to be true….I lean hard towards Halloween.

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