What would Valentine's Day be without poetry? I shudder to think. Valentine's Day is the holiday celebrating love, so it's only fitting to bring some (appropriate) love poems into your classroom. In addition to reading funny contemporary poetry, try introducing some classic stuff too.
I've selected some vintage poems here that provide opportunities for teaching all kinds of delicious things like simile, metaphor, personification, slant rhyme, creative license, and more.
Love is a river that would flow,
Forever calm and bright;
Dashed into spray, its misty tears
Are rainbowed into light.
Love is a jewel flashing forth
The brightness of the sun;
Crushed and a thousand glories shine
Where there has been but one.
Love is a never ending song
Taught to the soul at birth,
That it might sing of heavenly things
While waiting on the earth.
-Lola La Motte Iddings
I Summoned Cupid Yesterday (juicy vocabulary)
I summoned Cupid yesterday,
“Go seek my love,” I cried,
But Cupid hung his curly head
A trifle mortified,
“There’s no use shooting at men’s hearts,
I’d rather shoot at sparrows.
They’re such a very cautious lot
It’s quite a waste of arrows.”
“What? Try again? Why what’s the use!
Love cannot make them bold.
Successful cupids now-a-days
Have arrows tipped with gold.”
And with his tiny dimpled fist
He wiped his baby eyes.
Alas, that little Cupid too
Should grow so worldly wise.
-Lola La Motte Iddings
O, my luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O, my luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
'Till a' the seas gang dry.
'Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel a-while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.
Love is a circle, and an endless sphere;
From good to good, revolving here and there.
Look carefully--if Herrick had chosen to switch here and there in the second line, this could have been a rhyming couplet...but it isn't. Ponder on that.
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed;
In war, he mounts the warrior’s steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below and saints above;
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
-Sir Walter Scott
Love on his errand bound to go
Can swim the flood and wade through snow,
Where way is none, 't will creep and wind
And eat through Alps its home to find.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
-Compare and contrast how love is personified in Sir Walter Scott's poem and in Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem above.
-Discuss the mood of each poem.
If you are looking for contemporary poems try It's Valentine's Day by Jack Prelutsky.
As a fun read-aloud story, I also really like Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat. A porcupine named Gilbert tries his hand at writing some poems as valentines to give his classmates. He writes lovely poems for everyone except two classmates who have been mean to him. For each he writes a mean poem and signs it from the other. The consequences catch up to Gilbert eventually and a lesson is learned.