If you’d like to know how to write poetry about love, or have been planning to write a love poem for a while now, this is what I keep in mind when I’m writing.
Firstly, you start on your knees.
This is the important part. You start on your knees because you start from a place of vulnerability because that’s what love is, it is being vulnerable with someone, it’s saying,
“You mean so much to every single part of me that you could easily destroy me right now, and so I am putting myself at your mercy, I am telling you who I really am in a way that I cannot tell anyone else.”
How do you do this? You admit your flaws. Admit where you are weak. Admit where you are overwhelmed with emotion and explain,
“This is what you do to me. You have destroyed who I was because you have made me who I am.”
Love changes us.
Talk about the change. Talk about what your life was like before now, and how they’ve changed every aspect of you.
Write to one person and one person only.
Talk about “You” and “Me” and “I” because when we talk to each other, that’s how we talk. You’re not addressing a crowd, you’re not writing a newsletter, you’re writing down why the fire of the universe has been ignited inside of you. That means you say, “You.” You are the only two people that matter in the eternal moment your poem exists in.
Create tension between the mundane and the metaphysical.
You can create tension in a poem by changing focus – talk about what happens when you touch their skin and what it feels like to touch the edge of forever. Talk about their smell and talk about how lucky you are to exist at the same time as them. This change from the intimate to the incredible creates tension and propels the poem forward. One of my most popular poems is one sentence long and it resonates, I believe, because of this tension between the casualness of the statement and vast metaphysical nature of someone’s soul.
And then my soul saw you and it kind of went, ‘Oh there you are, I’ve been looking for you.‘
-Iain S. Thomas
Tell the truth and stay.
It doesn’t have to be long, the shorter the better and the less room to make mistakes.
The thing we really want from our partner, is to be seen and to be understood.
When we write something to them that shows that we truly see them, it’s proof that we’ve actually sat down and reflected deeply on who they are, and who they are to us.
What is the truth of this person? What have they done? Do they make you want to be a better person? Tell them. Is it sometimes hard to love them in the chaos or having a family and work and all the other commitments that make up modern day life but you love them anyway? Tell them. Have you neglected them? Have you taken them for granted? Tell them. Tell them the things that they know are true, that will make them feel seen and truly understood in a way that no one else but you can.
Do they make you feel whole?
Tell them the things that only you can tell them.
The most powerful thing you can do for your partner, is to see them,
Most of the time, we fight not because we disagree but because we don’t feel understood.
This poem that you’re writing is chance to demonstrate that you do. Spend time on it and make it as beautiful as the person you’re in love with.
[This originally appeared on my blog over at www.iainsthomas.com]