A love poem is not just a poem about love; it can have many facets. Love poems can be written about unfulfilled love, happy love that ends in a relationship or marriage, impossible love constellations that lead to affairs, a person someone is in love with and why someone is in love with that person, or certain memories we have about lovers. A love poem could be about love itself or about a lover or relationship. However versatile a love poem may be, there are still some themes that have become more popular than others.
One of the best-known themes in love poems has to be the praise of the beloved's most beautiful features, which was perfected by Shakespeare in his sonnets. The object of praise was traditionally thought to be a woman, but it turned out that Shakespeare had most certainly written his love sonnets for a nobleman at court. In poems about love with this theme the object of praise is usually described as the most beautiful thing on earth. This is commonly done with the help of the rhetorical figure of simile, i.e. a comparison with as or like. Especially facial features are described, for example the colour of the beloved's lips is compared to that of rose petals. In Shakespeare's love sonnets the end of the poem implies that the beloved is unapproachable and that he can only admire his/her beauty from afar.
Two other very important themes in love poems, but also in poems in general, are the "vanitas" theme and the "carpe diem" theme. The term "vanitas" is Latin and means "to disappear, to vanish" and as a theme for a love poem it implies that everything will die or vanish and that nothing will last forever. This theme is closely connected to the "carpe diem" theme, which is also Latin and means "seize the day" or in other words live in the here and now and cherish what you have. These two themes are often used in poems about love because they can be used for both a positive or a negative attitude to love: If you are happily in love you don't think about tomorrow, you only live for the day. You could also use the "vanitas" motif and declare that even if we all have to die, love will last forever. But if you are more critical about love you might write about the fact that nothing is eternal, not even love.
Another well-known theme in love poems is the "shepherd" theme, which compares the lover to a shepherd and his love to a shepherdess. The specialty of these poems is that they usually also describe the beauty of nature and not only a love relationship.
About Author / Additional Info:
Mag. Edith Kiesl works as marketing assistant for EP-Solutions, an internet service agency in Linz, Austria. In this company she is responsible for the content management and online marketing of a variety of web projects such as http://www.poemsandlovepoems.com and http://www.wellnessium.de.