1. To Dorothy, by Marvin Bell. Iowa's first Poet Laureate Marvin Bell penned a beautiful, brief poem to his wife. In very few words, he details the simple things she adds to his life, and how he would be lost without her. This poem, for all its brevity, carries a powerful message that all readers of modern poetry should know.
Memorable lines: If I lost you/the air wouldn't move, nor the tree grow/Someone would pull the weed, my flower/The quiet wouldn't be yours. If I lost you/I'd have to ask the grass to let me sleep.
2. The Embrace, by Mark Doty. Doty's tender poem devoted to a late lover will touch the hearts of anyone who reads it. His gentle words, tinged by sadness, reflect the grief of someone longing for their lost love, and the bittersweet joy they experience when their lover visits them in a dream.
Memorable lines: Bless you. You came back, so I could see you/once more, plainly, so I could rest against you/without thinking this happiness lessened anything/without thinking you were alive again.
3. The Kiss, by Stephen Dunn. Detailing the magic of a kiss, Dunn creates a world of subtle eroticism. He describes how he waited for such a kiss, and how, now that he’s found it (and the woman who bestowed it) he will never be parted from it.
Memorable lines: How many years I must have yearned/for someone’s lips against mind/Pheromones, newly born, were floating/between us. There was hardly any air.
4. Rime Riche, by Monica Ferrell. Two halves of the same whole defines this poem. Ferrell describes in great detail all of the ways in which her lover completes her. Her poetry is tender and delicate, and inspires the image of a person who is not complete without her love.
Memorable lines: You need me like ice needs the mountain/On which it breeds. Like print needs the page/You move in me like the tongue in a mouth/Like wind in the leaves of summer trees.
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