75 Best Poems About Breakup

These are the 75 best handpicked poems about breakup categorized:

  • Famous poems about breakup
  • Deep breakup poems
  • Sad breakup poems
  • Poems about breaking up and moving on
  • Goodbye breakup poems

If you’re looking for the best collection of breakup poems, then this list is for you.

Read on and enjoy!

Table of Contents

75 Best Poems About Breakup (Categorized)

My Favorite Breakup Poem

Lonely pensive young lady standing on skydeck

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well—
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?—
With silence and tears.

George Gordon Byron

Famous Poems About Breakup

Woman is walking alone with an umbrella and a suitcase in the rain at night

Where Love Once Was

Where love once was, let there be no hate:
Though they that went as one by night and day
Go now alone,
Where love once was, let there be no hate.

The seeds we planted together
Came to rich harvest,
And our hearts are as bins brimming with the golden plenty:
Into our loneliness we carry granaries of old love …

And though the time has come when we cannot sow our acres together,
And our souls need diverse fields,
And a tilling apart,
Let us go separate ways with a blessing each for each,
And gentle parting,
And let there be no hate,
Where love once was.

James Oppenheim

After Love

There is no magic any more,
We meet as other people do,
You work no miracle for me
Nor I for you.

You were the wind and I the sea—
There is no splendor any more,
I have grown listless as the pool
Beside the shore.

But though the pool is safe from storm
And from the tide has found surcease,
It grows more bitter than the sea,
For all its peace.

Sara Teasdale

Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti
Young woman lying under blanket with photos with ex boyfriend

Love’s Memory

I am undone: there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. It were all one,
That I should love a bright particular star,
And think to wed it, he is so above me:
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
The ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. ’T was pretty, though a plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His archèd brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart’s table,—heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favor:
But now he ’s gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his relics.

William Shakespeare
(From “All ’s Well That Ends Well,” Act I. Sc. 1.)

Ashes of Life

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;
Eat I must, and sleep I will,—and would that night were here!
But ah!—to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!
Would that it were day again!—with twilight near!

Love has gone and left me and I don’t know what to do;
This or that or what you will is all the same to me;
But all the things that I begin I leave before I’m through,—
There’s little use in anything as far as I can see.

Love has gone and left me,—and the neighbors knock and borrow,
And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse,—
And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
There’s this little street and this little house.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Louise Smith

Herbert broke our engagement of eight years
When Annabelle returned to the village
From the Seminary, ah me!
If I had let my love for him alone
It might have grown into a beautiful sorrow –
Who knows? – filling my life with healing fragrance.
But I tortured it, I poisoned it,
I blinded its eyes, and it became hatred –
Deadly ivy instead of clematis.
And my soul fell from its support,
Its tendrils tangled in decay.
Do not let the will play gardener to your soul
Unless you are sure
It is wiser than your soul’s nature.

Edgar Lee Masters
Crying woman sitting with white duvet outdoors

Tears, Idle Tears

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the under world;
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge,—
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love and wild with all regret,—
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(From “The Princess”)

Farewell!—but Whenever

Farewell!—but whenever you welcome the hour
That awakens the night-song of mirth in your bower,
Then think of the friend that once welcomed it too,
And forgot his own griefs, to be happy with you.
His griefs may return—not a hope may remain
Of the few that have brightened his pathway of pain—
But he ne’er can forget the short vision that threw
Its enchantment around him while lingering with you!

And still on that evening when Pleasure fills up
To the highest top sparkle each heart and each cup,
Where’er my path lies, be it gloomy or bright,
My soul, happy friends! will be with you that night;
Shall join in your revels, your sports, and your wiles,
And return to me, beaming all o’er with your smiles—
Too blest if it tell me that, ’mid the gay cheer,
Some kind voice has murmured, “I wish he were here!”

Let Fate do her worst, there are relics of joy,
Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy;
Which come in the night-time of sorrow and care,
And bring back the features which joy used to wear.
Long, long be my heart with such memories filled!
Like the vase in which roses have once been distilled—
You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.

Thomas Moore

Lost Love

I play my sweet old airs –
The airs he knew
When our love was true –
But he does not balk
His determined walk,
And passes up the stairs.

I sing my songs once more,
And presently hear
His footstep near
As if it would stay;
But he goes his way,
And shuts a distant door.

So I wait for another morn
And another night
In this soul-sick blight;
And I wonder much
As I sit, why such
A woman as I was born!

Thomas Hardy
Pensive woman standing by the window, woods in view outside

He Will Not Come

Take out the blossom in your hair abloom,
No more it seemeth beautiful, or bright,
And sickening is its subtly sweet perfume –
He will not come to-night.

Take off the necklace with its sparkling gem,
And rings that glow and glitter in the light,
And fling them in the case that waits for them –
He will not come to-night.

Take off the robe a little while ago
You chose, to make you fairer in his sight;
‘Tis ten o’clock. So late you can but know
He will not come to-night.

He will not come. God grant you strength and grace,
For never more upon your mortal sight
Shall dawn a glimpse of that beloved face
That did not come to-night.

He will not come. And through the shadowed years,
The perfume of that blossom that you wore
Shall stir the fount of salt and bitter tears –
For one who comes no more.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

A Winter’s Tale

Yesterday the fields were only grey with scattered snow,
And now the longest grass-leaves hardly emerge;
Yet her deep footsteps mark the snow, and go
On towards the pines at the hills’ white verge.

I cannot see her, since the mist’s white scarf
Obscures the dark wood and the dull orange sky;
But she’s waiting, I know, impatient and cold, half
Sobs struggling into her frosty sigh.

Why does she come so promptly, when she must know
That she’s only the nearer to the inevitable farewell;
The hill is steep, on the snow my steps are slow –
Why does she come, when she knows what I have to tell?

D. H. Lawrence

If You Should Go

Love, leave me like the light,
The gently passing day;
We would not know, but for the night,
When it has slipped away.

So many hopes have fled,
Have left me but the name
Of what they were. When love is dead,
Go thou, beloved, the same.

Go quietly; a dream
When done, should leave no trace
That it has lived, except a gleam
Across the dreamer’s face.

Countee Cullen
Alone young woman sit on seaside rock cliff edge looking at the distance

Proud of My Broken Heart

Proud of my broken heart, since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee,
Proud of my night, since thou with moons dost slake it,
Not to partake thy passion, my humility.

Emily Dickinson

Twilight Night

I.
We met, hand to hand,
We clasped hands close and fast,
As close as oak and ivy stand;
But it is past:
Come day, come night, day comes at last.

We loosed hand from hand,
We parted face from face;
Each went his way to his own land
At his own pace:
Each went to fill his separate place.

If we should meet one day,
If both should not forget.
We shall clasp hands the accustomed way,
As when we met
So long ago, as I remember yet.
II.
Where my heart is (wherever that may be)
Might I but follow!
If you fly thither over heath and lea,
O honey-seeking bee,
O careless swallow!
Bid some for whom I watch keep watch for me

Alas! that we must dwell, my heart and I,
So far asunder.
Hours wax to days, and days and days creep by;
I watch with wistful eye,
I wait and wonder:
When will that day draw nigh–that hour draw nigh?

Not yesterday, and not I think to-day;
Perhaps to-morrow.
Day after day “to-morrow,” thus I say:
I watched so yesterday
In hope and sorrow,
Again to-day I watch the accustomed way.

Christina Rossetti

To Lose Thee, Sweeter Than to Gain

To lose thee, sweeter than to gain
All other hearts I knew.
’T is true the drought is destitute,
But then I had the dew!

The Caspian has its realms of sand,
Its other realm of sea;
Without the sterile perquisite
No Caspian could be.

Emily Dickinson

Deep Breakup Poems

Cracked human hand on window with heart sign

The Sea of Glass

I looked and saw a sea
roofed over with rainbows,
In the midst of each
two lovers met and departed;
Then the sky was full of faces
with gold glories behind them.

Ezra Pound

At Daybreak

I had a dream and I awoke with it—
Poor little thing that I had not unclasped
After the kiss good-by.

And at the surface how it gasped—
This thing that I had loved in the unlit
Depth of the drowsy sea….
Ah me!
This thing with which I drifted toward the sky.

Driftwood upon a wave—
Senseless the motion that it gave.

Walter Conrad Arensberg

Departure

My true love from her pillow rose
And wandered down the summer lane.
She left her house to the wind’s carouse,
And her chamber wide to the rain.

She did not stop to don her coat,
She did not stop to smooth her bed—
But out she went in glad content
There where the bright path led.

She did not feel the beating storm,
But fled like a sunbeam, white and frail,
To the sea, to the air, somewhere, somewhere—
I have not found her trail.

Hermann Hagedorn
Depressed pensive woman taking off wedding ring

An End

Love, strong as Death, is dead.
Come, let us make his bed
Among the dying flowers:
A green turf at his head;
And a stone at his feet,
Whereon we may sit
In the quiet evening hours.

He was born in the Spring,
And died before the harvesting:
On the last warm summer day
He left us; he would not stay
For autumn twilight, cold and gray.
Sit we by his grave, and sing
He is gone away.

To few chords and sad and low
Sing we so:
Be our eyes fixed on the grass
Shadow-veiled as the years pass,
While we think of all that was
In the long ago.

Christina Rossetti

Parting

Dear Love, it was so hard to say
Good-bye to-day!
You turned to go, yet going turned to stay!
Till suddenly at last you went away.

Then all at last I found my love unsaid,
And bowed my head;
And went in tears up to my lonely bed—
Oh, would it be like this if you were dead?

Alice Freeman Palmer

Old Love and New

In my heart the old love
Struggled with the new,
It was ghostly waking
All night through.

Dear things, kind things
That my old love said,
Ranged themselves reproachfully
Round my bed.

But I could not heed them,
For I seemed to see
Dark eyes of my new love
Fixed on me.

Old love, old love,
How can I be true?
Shall I be faithless to myself
Or to you?

Sara Teasdale
From “Love Songs”
Man walking away, woman arms down standing behind with a rose in hand

Partings

If I leave you without a word,
It is not that I do not love you;
But that life’s love depths are stirred
By the shadow of God above you.

If I leave you without a sign,
It is not that my heart is colder,
But that you are now more mine
Through love grown wiser and older.

Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne

Friendship After Love

After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
In the intensity of its own fires,
There come the mellow, mild, St. Martin days
Crowned with the calm of peace, but sad with haze;
So after Love has led us, till he tires
Of his own throes, and torments, and desires
Comes large-eyed friendship; with a restful gaze,
He beckons us to follow, and across
Cool, verdant vales we wander free from care—
Is it a touch of frost lies in the air?
Why are we haunted with a sense of loss?
We do not wish the pain back, or the heat;
And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You Left Me Two Sweet Legacies

You left me, sweet, two legacies,—
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;

You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.

Emily Dickinson
Sad woman walking alone in the woods

Doubt and Love

“Love lives by faith,” my lover to me said
In earnest tones which loving thought imbue
With grace divine; such sense of honor, few
On earth attain; and by his fervor led,
My hopes to heaven on airy wings had sped;
When I for answer must—as woman e’er do
Needs question love, and say: “can man be true?”
(O, cruel words, had they but been unsaid;)
A changed voice gave to me this cold reply:
With hollow laugh bereft of all delight.
“To question love doth but a doubt imply;
And doubt kills love.” And lo! before my sight
Love died, and hurled from out an angry sky,
Hope bleeding fell upon the pall of night.

Libbie C. Baer

Separation

There is a mountain and a wood between us,
Where the lone shepherd and late bird have seen us
Morning and noon and eventide repass.
Between us now the mountain and the wood
Seem standing darker than last year they stood,
And say we must not cross, alas! alas!

Walter Savage Landor

Hate

My enemy came high,
And I
Stared fiercely in his face.
My lips went writhing back in a grimace,
And stern I watched him with a narrow eye.
Then, as I turned away, my enemy,
That bitter heart and savage, said to me:
“Some day, when this is past,
When all the arrows that we have are cast,
We may ask one another why we hate,
And fail to find a story to relate.
It may seem to us then a mystery
That we could hate each other.”
Thus said he,
And did not turn away,
Waiting to hear what I might have to say.
But I fled quickly, fearing if I stayed
I might have kissed him as I would a maid.

James Stephens
Silhouette of sad young woman looking out window

Among Shadows

In halls of sleep you wandered by,
This time so indistinguishably
I cannot remember aught of it,
Save that I know last night we met.
I know it by the cloudy thrill
That in my heart is quivering still;
And sense of loveliness forgot
Teases my fancy out of thought.
Though with the night the vision wanes,
Its haunting presence still may last—
As odor of flowers faint remains
In halls where late a queen has passed.

Arthur Davison Ficke

Separation

As water runs in the river, so runs time;
And ever my eyes are wasted of her presence.

The red flowers of the second moon were yesterday;
To-day the earth has spots of blood, and there are no flowers.

The wild geese were harnessed to the autumn moon;
They have come, I heard their crying, and they are gone.

They have passed and given me no message;
I only hear the falling, falling noise of white rain.

Song of Korea
Edward Powys Mathers (As Translator)

Separation

Parted cruelly from thee,
What, Oh! what is life to me?

‘Tis the morn without the lark;
It is wine without its spark.

Christmas time without its glee;
Music without harmony.

New Year’s eve devoid of mirth;
Winter night without the hearth.

‘Tis a day without the light;
‘Tis a moonless, starless night.

Thorn-bush, barren of its leaf;
Weeping, without its relief.

‘Tis a fire, but unconsuming;
Poisonous plant, but never blooming.

Ship becalmed, without its peace;
Death, without its sweet release.

W. M. MacKeracher
 Beautiful girl in sad mood standing against a wall in winter outdoor

Alms

My heart is what it was before,
A house where people come and go;
But it is winter with your love,
The sashes are beset with snow.

I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
I blow the coals to blaze again;
But it is winter with your love,
The frost is thick upon the pane.

I know a winter when it comes:
The leaves are listless on the boughs;
I watched your love a little while,
And brought my plants into the house.

I water them and turn them south,
I snap the dead brown from the stem;
But it is winter with your love,—
I only tend and water them.

There was a time I stood and watched
The small, ill-natured sparrows’ fray;
I loved the beggar that I fed,
I cared for what he had to say,

I stood and watched him out of sight;
Today I reach around the door
And set a bowl upon the step;
My heart is what it was before,

But it is winter with your love;
I scatter crumbs upon the sill,
And close the window,—and the birds
May take or leave them, as they will.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sad Breakup Poems

Autumn sadness, woman sitting on the ground in pain

In Farewell

I met thee, dear, and loved thee—yet we part,
Thou on thine unknown way and I on mine,
Ere yet the music of my woman’s heart
Has had full time to harmonize with thine.
Yet since the strain begun has seemed so sweet,
Forgive me if I dare to proffer thee
This echo from the depths where all complete
Trembles the soul’s perfected melody.
Jewels I have not, else for memory
Would I bestow them on the friend I love,
But tears and smiles, and the sweet thoughts that move
The heart by day and night, such, such to thee
I give in these poor lines as lavishly
As summer winds yield fragrance when they blow
Up from a vale where countless roses grow.

Anna Katherine (Green) Rohlfs

Ebb

I know what my heart is like
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Lost Love

His eyes are quickened so with grief,
He can watch a grass or leaf
Every instant grow; he can
Clearly through a flint wall see,
Or watch the startled spirit flee
From the throat of a dead man.
Across two counties he can hear,
And catch your words before you speak.
The woodlouse or the maggot’s weak
Clamour rings in his sad ear;
And noise so slight it would surpass
Credence: drinking sound of grass,
Worm-talk, clashing jaws of moth
Chumbling holes in cloth:
The groan of ants who undertake
Gigantic loads for honour’s sake,
Their sinews creak, their breath comes thin:
Whir of spiders when they spin,
And minute whispering, mumbling, sighs
Of idle grubs and flies.
This man is quickened so with grief,
He wanders god-like or like thief
Inside and out, below, above,
Without relief seeking lost love.

Robert Von Ranke Graves
 Sad young woman walking through park at sunset

Absence

When I think on the happy days
I spent wi’ you, my dearie;
And now what lands between us lie,
How can I be but eerie!

How slow ye move, ye heavy hours,
As ye were wae and weary!
It was na sae ye glinted by
When I was wi’ my dearie.

Anonymous

When You Come

When you come tonight
To our small room
You will look and listen—
I shall not be there.

You will cry out your dismay
To the unheeding gods;
You will wait and look and listen—
I shall not be there.

There is a part of you I love
More than your hands in mine at rest;
There is a part of you I love
More than your lips upon my breast.

There is a part of you I wound
Even in my caress;
There is a part of you withheld
I may not possess.

There is a part of you I hate—
Your need of me
When you would be alone,
Alone and free.

When you come tonight
To our small room
You will look and listen—
I shall not be there.

Mary Aldis

You Came and Went

All as a bird sails through the silent night,
On swift wings bent,
Leaving a wake of music in its flight,
You came and went.

H. Thompson Rich
A woman walking on a small footbridge on a foggy day in autumn.

Grown and Flown

I loved my love from green of Spring
Until sere Autumn’s fall;
But now that leaves are withering
How should one love at all?
One heart’s too small
For hunger, cold, love, everything.

I loved my love on sunny days
Until late Summer’s wane;
But now that frost begins to glaze
How should one love again?
Nay, love and pain
Walk wide apart in diverse ways.

I loved my love,–alas to see
That this should be, alas!
I thought that this could scarcely be,
Yet has it come to pass:
Sweet sweet love was,
Now bitter bitter grown to me.

Christina Rossetti

We Outgrow Love, Like Other Things

We outgrow love like other things
And put it in the drawer,
Till it an antique fashion shows
Like costumes grandsires wore.

Emily Dickinson

Left Behind

It was the autumn of the year!
The strawberry-leaves were red and sere,
October’s airs were fresh and chill,
When, pausing on the windy hill,
The hill that overlooks the sea,
You talked confidingly to me,—
Me, whom your keen artistic sight
Has not yet learned to read aright,
Since I have veiled my heart from you,
And loved you better than you knew.

You told me of your toilsome past,
The tardy honors won at last,
The trials borne, the conquests gained,
The longed-for boon of Fame attained:
I knew that every victory
But lifted you away from me,—
That every step of high emprise
But left me lowlier in your eyes:
I watched the distance as it grew,
And loved you better than you knew.

You did not see the bitter trace
Of anguish sweep across my face;
You did not hear my proud heart beat
Heavy and slow beneath your feet:
You thought of triumphs still unwon,
Of glorious deeds as yet undone;
And I, the while you talked to me,
I watched the gulls float lonesomely
Till lost amid the hungry blue,
And loved you better than you knew.

You walk the sunny side of Fate;
The wise world smiles, and calls you great;
The golden fruitage of success
Drops at your feet in plenteousness;
And you have blessings manifold,—
Renown and power, and friends and gold.
They build a wall between us twain
Which may not be thrown down again.
Alas! for I, the long years through,
Have loved you better than you knew.

Your life’s proud aim, your art’s high truth,
Have kept the promise of your youth;
And while you won the crown which now
Breaks into bloom upon your brow,
My soul cried strongly out to you
Across the ocean’s yearning blue,
While, unremembered and afar,
I watched you, as I watch a star
Through darkness struggling into view,
And loved you better than you knew.

I used to dream, in all these years
Of patient faith and silent tears,
That Love’s strong hand would put aside
The barriers of place and pride,—
Would reach the pathless darkness through
And draw me softly up to you.
But that is past; if you should stray
Beside my grave some future day,
Perchance the violets o’er my dust
Will half betray their buried trust,
And say, their blue eyes full of dew,
“She loved you better than you knew.”

Elizabeth (Akers) Allen
Ethereal beautiful woman in sad mood

The Want of You

A hint of gold where the moon will be;
Through the flocking clouds just a star or two;
Leaf sounds, soft and wet and hushed,
And oh! the crying want of you.

Angelina Weld Grimké

Sonnet II

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Mournful One

Every heart with pain is smitten
When they see the stripling pale,
Who upon his face bears written
Grief and sorrow’s mournful tale.
Breezes with compassion lightly
Fan his burning brow the while,
And his bosom many a sprightly
Damsel fair would fain beguile.
From the city’s ceaseless bustle
To the wood for peace he flies.
Merrily the leaves there rustle,
Merrier still the bird’s songs rise.
But the merry song soon ceases,
Sadly rustle leaf and tree,
When he, while his grief increases,
Nears the forest mournfully.

Heinrich Heine
(Translator: Edgar Alfred Bowring)
A young woman sits on the shore of the lake with her head on her knees.

The Grief

The heart of me’s an empty thing, that never stirs at all
For Moon-shine or Spring-time, or a far bird’s call.
I only know ’tis living by a grief that shakes it so,–
Like an East wind in Autumn, when the old nests blow.

Grey Eyes and Black Hair, ’tis never you I blame.
‘Tis long years and easy years since last I spoke your name.
And I’m long past the knife-thrust I got at wake or fair.
Or looking past the lighted door and fancying you there.

Grey Eyes and Black Hair–the grief is never this;
I’ve long forgot the soft arms–the first, wild kiss.
But, Oh, girl that tore my youth,–’tis this I have to bear,–
If you were kneeling at my feet I’d neither stay nor care.

Theodosia Garrison

Song of Myself, 29

Blind loving wrestling touch, sheath’d hooded sharp-tooth’d touch!
Did it make you ache so, leaving me?

Parting track’d by arriving, perpetual payment of perpetual loan,
Rich showering rain, and recompense richer afterward.

Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and vital,
Landscapes projected masculine, full-sized and golden.

Walt Whitman

The Lost One

I seek her in the shady grove,
And by the silent stream;
I seek her where my fancies rove,
In many a happy dream;
I seek her where I find her not,
In Spring and Summer weather:
My thoughts paint many a happy spot,
But we ne’er meet together.

The trees and bushes speak my choice,
And in the Summer shower
I often hear her pleasant voice,
In many a silent hour:
I see her in the Summer brook,
In blossoms sweet and fair;
In every pleasant place I look
My fancy paints her there.

The wind blows through the forest trees,
And cheers the pleasant day;
There her sweet voice is sure to be
To lull my cares away.
The very hedges find a voice,
So does the gurgling rill;
But still the object of my choice
Is lost and absent still.

John Clare

Poems About Breaking up and Moving On

Young couple standing in nature in countryside, holding hands but looking away from each other.

Come, Let Us Kisse and Parte

Since there ’s no helpe,—come, let us kisse and parte,
Nay, I have done,—you get no more of me;
And I am glad,—yea, glad with all my hearte,
That thus so cleanly I myselfe can free.
Shake hands forever!—cancel all our vows;
And when we meet at any time againe,
Be it not seene in either of our brows,
That we one jot of former love retaine.

Now—at the last gaspe of Love’s latest breath—
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies;
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now! if thou wouldst—when all have given him over—
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

Michael Drayton

Love Me at Last

Love me at last, or if you will not,
Leave me;
Hard words could never, as these half-words,
Grieve me:
Love me at last—or leave me.

Love me at last, or let the last word uttered
Be but your own;
Love me, or leave me—as a cloud, a vapor,
Or a bird flown.
Love me at last—I am but sliding water
Over a stone.

Alice Corbin

Separation

And so we twain must part! Oh linger yet,
Let me still feed my glance upon thine eyes.
Forget not, love, the days of our delight,
And I our nights of bliss shall ever prize.
In dreams thy shadowy image I shall see,
Oh even in my dream be kind to me!

Though I were dead, I none the less would hear
Thy step, thy garment rustling on the sand.
And if thou waft me greetings from the grave,
I shall drink deep the breath of that cold land.
Take thou my days, command this life of mine,
If it can lengthen out the space of thine.

No voice I hear from lips death-pale and chill,
Yet deep within my heart it echoes still.
My frame remains – my soul to thee yearns forth.
A shadow I must tarry still on earth.
Back to the body dwelling here in pain,
Return, my soul, make haste and come again!

Emma Lazarus
(Translations From The Hebrew Poets Of Medaeval Spain)
A closed and rusty heart shaped padlock hanging from a chain beside a river with blurred cityscape in the background

Lost Love

I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods;

I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘T is better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ae Fond Kiss, and Then We Server

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I ’ll pledge thee;
Warring sighs and groans I ’ll wage thee.
Who shall say that fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu’ twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.

I ’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy—
Naething could resist my Nancy:
But to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love forever.
Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I ’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I ’ll wage thee!

Robert Burns

A Farewell

Good-by!—no, do not grieve that it is over,
The perfect hour;
That the winged joy, sweet honey-loving rover,
Flits from the flower.

Grieve not—it is the law. Love will be flying—
Oh, love and all.
Glad was the living—blessed be the dying!
Let the leaves fall.

Harriet Monroe
Attractive lonely young woman on the rooftop with city view on sunset

No, Thank You, John

I never said I loved you, John:
Why will you tease me, day by day,
And wax a weariness to think upon
With always “do” and “pray”?

You know I never loved you, John;
No fault of mine made me your toast:
Why will you haunt me with a face as wan
As shows an hour-old ghost?

I dare say Meg or Moll would take
Pity upon you, if you’d ask:
And pray don’t remain single for my sake
Who can’t perform that task.

I have no heart?–Perhaps I have not;
But then you’re mad to take offence
That I don’t give you what I have not got:
Use your own common sense.

Let bygones be bygones:
Don’t call me false, who owed not to be true:
I’d rather answer “No” to fifty Johns
Than answer “Yes” to you.

Let’s mar our pleasant days no more,
Song-birds of passage, days of youth:
Catch at to-day, forget the days before:
I’ll wink at your untruth.

Let us strike hands as hearty friends;
No more, no less: and friendship’s good:
Only don’t keep in view ulterior ends,
And points not understood

In open treaty. Rise above
Quibbles and shuffling off and on:
Here’s friendship for you if you like; but love,–
No, thank you, John.

Christina Rossetti

Sonnet IV

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far,
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Forget Me Not

When in the morning’s misty hour,
When the sun beams gently o’er each flower;
When thou dost cease to smile benign,
And think each heart responds with thine,
When seeking rest among divine,
Forget me not.

When the last rays of twilight fall,
And thou art pacing yonder hall;
When mists are gathering on the hill,
Nor sound is heard save mountain rill,
When all around bids peace be still,
Forget me not.

When the first star with brilliance bright,
Gleams lonely o’er the arch of night;
When the bright moon dispels the gloom,
And various are the stars that bloom,
And brighten as the sun at noon,
Forget me not.

When solemn sighs the hollow wind,
And deepen’d thought enraps the mind;
If e’er thou doest in mournful tone,
E’er sigh because thou feel alone,
Or wrapt in melancholy prone,
Forget me not.

When bird does wait thy absence long,
Nor tend unto its morning song;
While thou art searching stoic page,
Or listening to an ancient sage,
Whose spirit curbs a mournful rage,
Forget me not.

Then when in silence thou doest walk,
Nor being round with whom to talk;
When thou art on the mighty deep,
And do in quiet action sleep;
If we no more on earth do meet,
Forget me not.

When brightness round thee long shall bloom,
And knelt remembering those in gloom;
And when in deep oblivion’s shade,
This breathless, mouldering form is laid,
And thy terrestrial body staid,
Forget me not.

“Should sorrow cloud thy coming years,
And bathe thy happiness in tears,
Remember, though we’re doom’d to part,
There lives one fond and faithful heart,
That will forget thee not.”

Ann Plato
A beautiful young lady sitting alone on green glade under tree branches, looking gloomy

Let It Be Forgotten

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold.
Let it be forgotten forever and ever,
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long-forgotten snow.

Sara Teasdale

I Cannot Live With You

I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf

The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup

Discarded of the housewife,
Quaint or broken;
A newer Sèvres pleases,
Old ones crack.

I could not die with you,
For one must wait
To shut the other’s gaze down,—
You could not.

And I, could I stand by
And see you freeze,
Without my right of frost,
Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise with you,
Because your face
Would put out Jesus’,
That new grace

Glow plain and foreign
On my homesick eye,
Except that you, than he
Shone closer by.

They ’d judge us—how?
For you served Heaven, you know,
Or sought to;
I could not,

Because you saturated sight,
And I had no more eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise.

And were you lost, I would be,
Though my name
Rang loudest
On the heavenly fame.

And were you saved,
And I condemned to be
Where you were not,
That self were hell to me.

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!

Emily Dickinson

If You Should Tire Of Loving Me

If you should tire of loving me
Some one of our far days,
Oh, never start to hide your heart
Or cover thought with praise.

For every word you would not say
Be sure my heart has heard,
So go from me all silently
Without a kiss or word;

For God must give you happiness,
And Oh, it may befall
In listening long to Heaven-song
I may not care at all!

Margaret Widdemer
Man comforting his frustrated woman outdoor

He and She

“Should one of us remember,
And one of us forget,
I wish I knew what each will do–
But who can tell as yet?”

“Should one of us remember,
And one of us forget,
I promise you what I will do–
And I’m content to wait for you,
And not be sure as yet.”

Christina Rossetti

You

I go my way complacently,
As self-respecting persons should.
You are to me the rebel thought,
You are the wayward rebel mood.

What shall we share who are separate?
We part—as alien persons should.
But oh, I have need of the rebel thought,
And a wicked urge to the rebel mood!

Florence Kiper Frank

Goodbye Breakup Poems

Man walking away, woman behind looking through autumn leaf with heart-shaped hole.

Farewell to Love

Farewell, sweet Love! yet blame you not my truth:
More fondly ne’er did mother eye her child
Than I your form. Yours were my hopes of youth,
And as you shaped my thoughts, I sighed or smiled.
While most were wooing wealth, or gayly swerving
To pleasure’s secret haunts, and some apart
Stood strong in pride, self-conscious of deserving,
To you I gave my whole, weak, wishing heart.
And when I met the maid that realized
Your fair creations, and had won her kindness,
Say but for her if aught in earth I prized!
Your dream alone I dreamt, and caught your blindness.
O grief!—but farewell, Love! I will go play me
With thoughts that please me less, and less betray me.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Farewell

With all my will, but much against my heart,
We two now part.
My Very Dear,
Our solace is, the sad road lies so clear.
It needs no art,
With faint, averted feet
And many a tear,
In our opposèd paths to persevere.
Go thou to East, I West.
We will not say
There ’s any hope, it is so far away.
But, O, my Best,
When the one darling of our widowhead,
The nursling Grief,
Is dead,
And no dews blur our eyes
To see the peach-bloom come in evening skies,
Perchance we may,
Where now this night is day,
And even through faith of still averted feet,
Making full circle of our banishment,
Amazèd meet;
The bitter journey to the bourne so sweet
Seasoning the termless feast of our content
With tears of recognition never dry.

Coventry Patmore

Sonnet 139

O, call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye but with thy tongue;
Use power with power, and slay me not by art.
Tell me thou lov’st elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside;
What need’st thou wound with cunning when thy might
Is more than my o’erpressed defense can bide?
Let me excuse thee: ah, my love well knows
Her pretty looks have been mine enemies;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
That they elsewhere might dart their injuries—
Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,
Kill me outright with looks and rid my pain.

William Shakespeare
Young woman in dress walking alone through dark woods at bright sunset.

The Lover Left by His Love at Evening

The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hands, and softer breast,
Warm breath, light whisper, tender semitone,
Bright eyes, accomplished shape, and lang’rous waist!
Faded the flower and all its budded charms;
Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes;
Faded the shape of beauty from my arms;
Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise,—
Vanished unseasonably at shut of eve,
When the dusk holiday—or holinight—
Of fragrant-curtained love begins to weave
The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight;
But, as I ’ve read love’s missal through to-day,
He ’ll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.

John Keats

Let Us Forget

Let us forget.
What matters it that we
Once reigned o’er happy realms of long-ago,
And talked of love, and let our voices low,
And ruled for some brief sessions royally?
What if we sung, or laughed, or wept maybe?
It has availed not anything, and so
Let it go by that we may better know
How poor a thing is lost to you and me.
But yesterday I kissed your lips, and yet
Did thrill you not enough to shake the dew
From your drenched lids – and missed, with no regret,
Your kiss shot back, with sharp breaths failing you;
And so, to-day, while our worn eyes are wet
With all this waste of tears, let us forget!

James Whitcomb Riley

Separation

Stop Not to me, at this bitter departing,
Speak of the sure consolations of Time.
Fresh be the wound, still-renewed be its smarting,
So but thy image endure in its prime.

But, if the stedfast commandment of Nature
Wills that remembrance should always decay;
If the loved form and the deep-cherished feature
Must, when unseen, from the soul fade away

Me let no half-effaced memories cumber!
Fled, fled at once, be all vestige of thee
Deep be the darkness, and still be the slumber
Dead be the Past and its phantoms to me!

Then, when we meet, and thy look strays towards me,
Scanning my face and the changes wrought there,
Who, let me say, is this Stranger regards me,
With the grey eyes, and the lovely brown hair?

Matthew Arnold
 bright moonlight shines through the flowers below

Good-By

Again I see that May moon shine,
Dost thou remember, soul of mine?
I held your hand in mine, you know,
And as I bent to whisper low,
A tender light was in your eye,
“Sweetheart, good-by, sweetheart, good-by.”

There came a time my lips were white
Beneath the pale and cold moonlight,
And burning words I might not speak,
You read, love, in my ashen cheek,
As my whole heart breathed in this one cry,
“Sweetheart, good-by, sweetheart, good-by.”

Time’s waves that roll so swift and fleet
Have borne you far from me, my sweet,
Have borne you to a sunny bay,
Where brightest sunshine gilds your way,
Do these words ever dim your sky –
Sweetheart, good-by, sweetheart, good-by?

I cannot tell, but this I know
They go with me where’er I go,
I hear them in the crowded mart,
At midnight lone, they chill my heart –
They dim for me the earth and sky,
Sweetheart, good-by, sweetheart good-by.

And in that hour of mystery,
When loved ones shall bend over me,
Near ones to kiss my lips and weep,
As nearer steals the dreamless sleep,
From all I’ll turn with this last sigh,
“Sweetheart, good-by, sweetheart, good-by.”

Marietta Holley

Mag

I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.
I wish you never quit your job and came along with me.
I wish we never bought a license and a white dress
For you to get married in the day we ran off to a minister
And told him we would love each other and take care of each other
Always and always long as the sun and the rain lasts anywhere.
Yes, I’m wishing now you lived somewhere away from here
And I was a bum on the bumpers a thousand miles away dead broke.
I wish the kids had never come And rent and coal and clothes to pay for
And a grocery man calling for cash,
Every day cash for beans and prunes.
I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.
I wish to God the kids had never come.

Carl Sandburg

What My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Woman with sad teary eyes, Eiffel tower in the background

We Parted in Silence

We parted in silence, we parted by night,
On the banks of that lonely river;
Where the fragrant limes their boughs unite,
We met—and we parted forever!
The night-bird sung, and the stars above
Told many a touching story,
Of friends long passed to the kingdom of love,
Where the soul wears its mantle of glory.

We parted in silence,—our cheeks were wet
With the tears that were past controlling;
We vowed we would never, no, never forget,
And those vows at the time were consoling;
But those lips that echoed the sounds of mine
Are as cold as that lonely river;
And that eye, that beautiful spirit’s shrine,
Has shrouded its fires forever.

And now on the midnight sky I look,
And my heart grows full of weeping;
Each star is to me a sealèd book,
Some tale of that loved one keeping.
We parted in silence,—we parted in tears,
On the banks of that lonely river:
But the odor and bloom of those bygone years
Shall hang o’er its waters forever.

Louisa Macartney Crawford

The Nevermore

Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell;
Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell
Cast up thy Life’s foam-fretted feet between;
Unto thine eyes the glass where that is seen
Which had Life’s form and Love’s, but by my spell
Is now a shaken shadow intolerable,
Of ultimate things unuttered the frail screen.

Mark me, how still I am! But should there dart
One moment through my soul the soft surprise
Of that winged Peace which lulls the breath of sighs,—
Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn apart
Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart
Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Ashes of Roses

Soft on the sunset sky
Bright daylight closes,
Leaving, when light doth die,
Pale hues that mingling lie,—
Ashes of roses.

When love’s warm sun is set,
Love’s brightness closes;
Eyes with hot tears are wet,
In hearts there linger yet
Ashes of roses.

Elaine Goodale Eastman
Young beautiful woman outdoor looking pensive

Pain and Time Strive Not

What part of the dread eternity
Are those strange minutes that I gain,
Mazed with the doubt of love and pain,
When I thy delicate face may see,
A little while before farewell?

What share of the world’s yearning-tide
That flash, when new day bare and white
Blots out my half-dream’s faint delight,
And there is nothing by my side,
And well remembered is farewell?

What drop in the grey flood of tears
That time, when the long day toiled through,
Worn out, shows nought for me to do,
And nothing worth my labour bears
The longing of that last farewell?

What pity from the heavens above,
What heed from out eternity,
What word from the swift world for me?
Speak, heed, and pity, O tender love,
Who knew’st the days before farewell!

William Morris

Adieu

Let time and chance combine, combine,
Let time and chance combine;
The fairest love from heaven above,
That love of yours was mine,
My dear,
That love of yours was mine.

The past is fled and gone, and gone,
The past is fled and gone;
If nought but pain to me remain,
I’ll fare in memory on,
My dear,
I’ll fare in memory on.

The saddest tears must fall, must fall,
The saddest tears must fall;
In weal or woe, in this world below,
I love you ever and all,
My dear,
I love you ever and all.

A long road full of pain, of pain,
A long road full of pain;
One soul, one heart, sworn ne’er to part,—
We ne’er can meet again,
My dear,
We ne’er can meet again.

Hard fate will not allow, allow,
Hard fate will not allow;
We blessed were as the angels are,—
Adieu forever now,
My dear,
Adieu forever now.

Thomas Carlyle

Am I to Lose You?

“Am I to lose you now?” The words were light;
You spoke them, hardly seeking a reply,
That day I bid you quietly “Good-bye,”
And sought to hide my soul away from sight.
The question echoed, dear, through many a night,—
My question, not your own—most wistfully;
“Am I to lose him?”—asked my heart of me;
“Am I to lose him now, and lose him quite?”

And only you can tell me. Do you care
That sometimes we in quietness should stand
As fellow-solitudes, hand firm in hand,
And thought with thought and hope with hope compare?
What is your answer? Mine must ever be,
“I greatly need your friendship: leave it me.”

Louisa S. Guggenberger