Poems about infatuation


(Infatuation playlist) **Art: Romeo and Juliet by Francis Bernard Dicksee, 1884 (source)

“Tuti’s Ice Cream” by Chairil Anwar (1922-1949; Medan, Indonesia; 1945 Generation movement) – from The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry

Between present and future happiness the abyss gapes,
My girl is licking happily at her ice cream;
This afternoon you’re my love, I adorn you with cake and Coca-Cola.
Oh wife-in-training, we’ve stopped the clocks ticking.

You kissed skillfully, the scratches still hurt
— when we cycled I took you home —
Your blood was hot, oh you were a woman soon,
And the old man’s dreams leaped at the moon. (…)

“To the Fair Clorinda, Who Made Love To Me, Imagin’d More than Woman” by Aphra Behn (1640-1689; Canterbury, England; playwright, novelist, translator) – from Poetry by English Women: Elizabethan to Victorian

Fair lovely Maid, or if that Title be
Too weak, too Feminine for Nobler thee,
Permit a Name that more Approaches Truth:
And let me call thee, Lovely Charming Youth.
This last will justifie my soft complainte,
While that may serve to lessen my constraint;
And without Blushes I the Youth persue,
When so much beauteous Woman is in view
Against thy Charms we struggle but in vain
With thy deluding Form thou giv’st us pain,
While the bright Nymph betrays us to the Swain. (…)

“They Say It’s Wonderful” from the musical Annie Get Your Gun by Irving Berlin (1888-1989; Belarus, Russia / New York, US; composer, lyricist) (Doris Day rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

They say that falling love is wonderful
It’s wonderful, so they say
And with the moon up above, it’s wonderful
It’s wonderful, so they tell me
I can’t recall who said it
I know I’ve never read it
I only know they tell me that love is grand, and
The thing that’s known as romance
Is wonderful, wonderful
In every way, so they say
To leave your house some morning
And without any warning, you’re stopping people –
Shouting that love is grand, and
To hold a man in your arms is wonderful, wonderful
In every way, so they say

{see also “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody” (Ziegfield Follies rendition) Photo of Meet Me in St. Louis, produced by Village Theatre (Issaquah, Washington, US) (source)

“The Trolley Song” from the film Meet Me in St. Louis by Ralph Blane (1914-1995; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, US; composer, lyricist, radio singer) & Hugh Martin (1914-2011; Alabama; vocal coach, playwright) (Judy Garland rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

With her high starched collar and her high topped shoes
And her hair piled high upon her head
She went to find a jolly hour on the trolley
And she found my heart instead
With my light brown derby and my bright green tie
I was quite the lonesomest of men
I started to yen so I counted to ten
Then I counted to ten again
Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heart strings
For the moment I saw her I fell (…)

“(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings” by Jean Blauvillain (French original) & Harold Rome (1908-1993; Hartford, Connecticut, US; composer, lyricist, librettist) (Paul Anka rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

All of a sudden my heart sings
When I remember little things
The way you dance and hold me tight
The way you kiss and say goodnight
The crazy things we say and do
The fun it is to be with you
The magic thrill that’s in your touch
Oh, darling, I love you so much (…)

“Imagination” by Johnny Burke (1908-1964, California, US) & Jimmy Van Heusen (1913-1990, New York, US; pianist) (Joni James rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Imagination is funny
It makes a cloudy day sunny
Makes a bee think of honey
Just as I think of you
Imagination is crazy
Your whole perspective gets hazy
Starts you asking a daisy
What to do, what to do
Have you ever felt a gentle touch
And then a kiss, and then, and then
Find it’s only your imagination again
Oh, well
Imagination is silly
You go around willy-nilly
For example, I go around wanting you
And yet I can’t imagine that you want me too

“Call Me Irresponsible” by Sammy Cahn (1913-1993; New York; lyricist, songwriter, musician) (Dinah Washington rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Call me irresponsible,
Yes I’m unreliable,
Throw in undependable too!
Do my foolish alibis bore you?
Well I’m not too clever, I just adore you!
Call me unpredictable,
Tell me I’m impractical,
Rainbows I’m inclined to pursue!
Call me irresponsible,
Yes I’m unreliable,
But it’s undeniably true
I’m irresponsibly mad for you! (…)

“Two Cures for Love” by Wendy Cope (b. 1945; Erith, Kent, UK; adult and children’s poet, magazine editor, arts administrator)
– from The Oxford Book of Comic Verse

  1. Don’t see him. Don’t phone or write a letter.
  2. The easy way: get to know him better.

“Mad About the Boy” by Noël Coward (1899-1973; Teddington, London, UK; playwright, composer, director, actor, singer) (Helen Forrest rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I’m mad about the boy
And I know it’s stupid to be mad about the boy
I’m so ashamed of it but must admit the sleepless nights I’ve had
About the boy
Mmmm on the silverscreen
He melts my foolish heart in every single scene
Although I’m quite aware that here and there are traces of the kid
About the boy
Lord knows I’m not a fool-girl
I really shouldn’t care
Lord knows I’m not a school-girl
Who’s in the flurry of her first affair (…)

“Manuscrito en una botella” (Manuscript in a Bottle) by Pablo Antonio Cuadra (1912-2002; Managua, Nicaragua; essayist, art and literary critic, playwright, graphic artist; Vanguardia movement) – from The Best 100 Love Poems of the Spanish Language

Yo había mirado los cocoteros y los tamarindos
y los mangos
las velas blancas secándose al sol
el humo del desayuno sobre el cielo
del amanecer
y los peces saltando en la atarraya
y una muchacha vestida de rojo
que bajaba a la playa y subía con el cántaro
y pasaba detrás de la arboleda
y aparecía y desaparecía
y durante mucho tiempo
yo no podía navegar sin esa imagen
de la muchacha vestida de rojoe
y los cocoteros y los tamarindos y los mangos
me parecía que sólo existían
porque ella existía

I remember the coconut trees and the tamarinds
and the mangos,
the white sheets drying in the sun,
the smoke of breakfast staining the sky
at daybreak,
and fish dancing in the net,
and a girl in red
who would drift down to the shore and float up with a jug
and pass behind a grove
and appear and disappear.
And for a long time
I could not sail without that image
of the girl in red
and the coconut trees an
d the tamarinds
and the mangos
that seemed to live only
because she lived; (…)

“I’ll Say She Does” from the musical Sinbad by “Buddy” George DeSylva (1895-1950; New York, US; film and record executive), Al Jolson (1886-1950; Russia; actor, comedian, singer), & Gus Kahn (Al Jolson rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I’ve got a brand new sweetie
Better than the one before
Oh, she’s got everything and a little bit more
I don’t know much about her
And yet I know her love
And what it takes to make me love her
I wanta tell ya she’s got
Does she make everybody stare
I’ll say she does
Does she go la da da da I don’t care
I’ll say she does (…)

{see also “If you Knew Susie (Like I Know Susie)”
“You’re An Old Smoothie”}

“Conjured” by Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943; Ontario, Canada / Illinois, US; composer, choral director, organist, pianist) – from In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry

Couldn’t sleep last night!
Just toss and pitch!
I’m conjured! I’m conjured!
By that little witch!
My heart’s all afired!
My brain’s got the itch!
I tell you I’m conjured
By that little witch!
I’m “patchy” in feelings;
It seems that a stitch
Has sewed me up inside out. (…)

“I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan” by Howard Dietz (1896-1983; New York, US; librettist, publicist for MGM) (Fred Astaire & Jack Buchanan rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I guess I’ll have to change my plan,
I should have realized there’d be another man,
I overlooked that point completely,
until the big affair began,
Before I knew where I was at,
I found myself upon the shelf, and that was that,
I tried to reach the moon but when I got there,
All that I could get was the air,
My feet are back upon the ground,
I’ve lost the one girl (man) I found, (…)

“Nessa” by Paul Durcan (b. 1944; Dublin, Ireland; diarist)
– from Ireland’s Love Poems

I met her on the First of August
In the Shangri-La Hotel,
She took me by the index finger
And dropped me in her well.
And that was a whirlpool, that was a whirlpool,
And I very nearly drowned.
Take off your pants, she said to me,
And I very nearly didn’t;
Would you care to swim? she said to me,
And I hopped into the Irish Sea.
And that was a whirlpool, that was a whirlpool,
And I very nearly drowned.
On the way back I fell in the field
And she fell down beside me.
I’d have lain in the grass with her all my life
With Nessa:
She was a whirlpool, she was a whirlpool,
And I very nearly drowned. (…)

“Crazy in the Heart” by William Engvick (1914-2012; California, US; lyricist, French music translator) (Peggy Lee rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I see roses in December
Think it’s April in November
And it’s all because I’m crazy in the heart

I hear trumpets when I’m talking
Think I’m flying when I’m walking
And it’s all because I’m crazy in the heart

I used to be the kind that acted sober, acted wise
Until I felt the magic that happens in your eyes (…)

“How About You” by Ralph Freed (1907-1973; Vancouver, Canada; TV producer) (Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

When a girl meets boy, life can be a joy
But the note they end on
Will depend on little pleasures they will share
So let us compare
I like New York in June, how about you?
I like a Gershwin tune, how about you?
I love a fireside when a storm is due,
I like potato chips, moonlight
And motor trips, how about you?
I’m mad about good books, can’t get my fill
And Frank Sinatra’s looks give me a thrill,
Holding hands in a movie show
When all the lights are low may not be new
But I like it, how about you. (…)

“The pointed reproach of the enemy” by Fuzûlî (1483-1556; Karbala, Iraq; writer of epic poetry and wisdom literature)
– from Ottoman Lyric Poetry: An Anthology

Oh light of my eye, were my eye not shining
from the candle of your beauty
My worldy vision would be no use to me
at all

The pleasure of wondering when I will be
near you
Keeps me from calling any place my home

Oh keeper of the garden, it is useless to wander
in the rose-garden of many delights
When I burn for union with the cypress
of the jasmine breast (…)

“You Go to My Head” by Haven Gillespie (1888-1975; Kentucky, US; composer, lyricist) (Louis Armstrong rendition)
– from Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry

You go to my head and you linger like a haunting refrain
And I find you spinning ’round in my brain
Like the bubbles in a glass of champagne
You go to my head like a sip of sparkling Burgundy brew
And I find the very mention of you
Like the kicker in a julep or two
The thrill of the thought that you might give a thought to my plea
Casts a spell over me (…)

Zinaïda Gippius by Léon Bakst (1900)

“ШВЕЯ” (The Seamstress) by Zinaïda Gippius (1869–1945; Belyov, Russia; novelist, dramatist, literary critic, memoirist; Symbolism movement)
– from An Anthology of Russian Women’s Writing, 1777-1992

И этот шелк мне кажется – Огнем.
И вот уж не огнем – а Кровью
А кровь – лишь знак того, что мы зовем
На бедном языке – Любовью.

Любовь – лишь звук… Но в этот поздний час
Того, что дальше,- не открою.
Нет, не огонь, не кровь… а лишь атлас
Скрипит под робкою иглою.

And this silk seems Fire to me.
And now no longer Fire, but Blood.
And blood is but a sign of that which we
Call, in our poor language, Love.

Love is but a sound… At this late hour,
What comes next I can’t reveal.
No, not fire, nor blood, but only satin
Creaks beneath the timid needle. (…)

“Meet the Beat of My Heart” by Mack Gordon (1904-1959; Warsaw, Poland / New York, US; composer, lyricist) (Paula Gayle rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Meet the beat of my heart
Meet the reason I feel so
Why I’m happy and seem so
Delighted, excited, and got such a glow on

Meet the beat of my heart
Meet the time and the weather
The tick that holds me together
Without him beside me
I never could go on (…)

{see also “You Make Me Feel So Young”}

“Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” by James F. Hanley (1892-1942; Indiana, US; songwriter) (The Trammps rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

 Never could carry a tune, never knew where to start
You came along when everything was wrong and put a song in my heart

Dear when you smiled at me, I heard a melody
It haunted me from the start
Something inside of me started a symphony
Zing! Went the strings of my heart

‘Twas like a breath of spring, I heard a robin sing
About a nest set apart
All nature seemed to be in perfect harmony
Zing! Went the strings of my heart

Your eyes made skies seem blue again
What else could I do again
But keep repeating through and through
“I love you, love you” (…)

“Thou Swell” by Lorenz Hart (b. 1943; New York, US; lyricist, playwright) (Natalie Cole rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Thou swell! Thou witty!
Thou sweet! Thou grand!
Wouldst kiss me pretty?
Wouldst hold my hand?
Both thine eyes are cute too;
What they do to me.
Hear me holler I choose a Sweet lollapaloosa in thee.
I’d feel so rich in a hut for two;
Two rooms and a kitchen I’m sure would do;
Give me just a plot of,
Not a lot of land,
And Thou swell! Thou Witty! Thou Grand! (…)

“Decoración heráldica” (Heraldic Decoration) by Julio Herrera y Reissig (1875-1910; Montevideo, Uruguay; playwright, essayist)
– from The Best 100 Love Poems of the Spanish Language

Soñé que te encontrabas junto al muro
glacial donde termina la existencia,
paseando tu magnífica opulencia
de doloroso terciopelo oscuro.

Tu pie, decoro del marfil más puro,
hería, con satánica inclemencia,
las pobres almas, llenas de paciencia,
que aún se brindaban a tu amor perjuro.

I dreamt you stood beside the icy wall
Where all existence ends, brilliant and tense,
Displaying as you walked your opulence
Of grieving velvet darkened like a pall.

Your foot, carved ivory, pure as a dove,
With pitiless Satanic vehemence
Wounded the patient souls of poor defence
Who gave themselves unto your perjured love. (…)

“Oh, when I was in love with you” from A Shropshire Lad by Alfred Edward (A.E.) Housman (1859-1936; Worcestershire, England; classical scholar, professor, lecturer, letter-writer) – from Modern British Poetry

Oh, when I was in love with you,
Then I was clean and brave,
And miles around the wonder grew
How well did I behave.

And now the fancy passes by,
And nothing will remain,
And miles around they ’ll say that I
Am quite myself again.

“My Baby Just Cares for Me” by Gus Kahn (1886-1941; Germany / Illinois / California, US; songwriter, lyricist) (Andrea Motis & Joan Chamarro Group rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

My baby don’t care for shows
My baby don’t care for clothes
My baby just cares for me

My baby don’t care for cars and races
My baby don’t care for high tone places
Elizabeth Taylor is not his style
And even Ricky Martin’s smile

Is something he can’t see
My baby don’t care who knows it
My baby just cares for me
I wonder what’s wrong with baby

My baby just cares for
He just says his prayers for
My baby just cares
For me

“Tryst” by Yahya Kemal Beyath (1884-1958, Turkey; politician, diplomat)
– from Nightingales and Pleasure Gardens: Turkish Love Poems

My eyes transfixed on the road, I strained in their light to see;
I posed the question to the winds: “Who is she, what is she?”
“To her belongs,” I said, “the magic that grips my fancy.”
The way she glared was like a panther’s hazel eyes, I saw. (…) of the musical A Chorus Line, produced by UCLA (2012) (source)

“One” from the musical A Chorus Line by Edward Kleban (1939-1987; New York, US; musical theatre composer, lyricist) (1985 film rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

One singular sensation
Every little step she takes
One thrilling combination
Every move that she makes
One smile and suddenly nobody else will do
You know you’ll never be lonely with you know who

One moment in her presence
And you can forget the rest
For the girl is second best to none, son
Oooh! Sigh! Give her your attention
Do I really have to mention
She’s the one!

She walks into a room and you know
She’s uncommonly rare, very unique
Peripathetic, poetic and chic
She walks into a room and you know
From her maddening poise, effortless whirl
She’s the special girl strolling
Can’t help all of her qualities extolling
Loaded with charisma is ma jauntily
Sauntering, ambling, shamble (…)

“To Marina” by Kenneth Koch (1925-2002; Ohio, US; playwright, professor; New York School of poetry) – from The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

I wasn’t ready
For you.

I understood nothing
Seemingly except my feelings
You were whirling
In your life
I was keeping
Everything in my head
An artist friend’s apartment
Five flights up the
Lower East Side nineteen
Fifty-something I don’t know
What we made love the first time I
Almost died I had never felt
That way it was like being stamped on in Hell
It was roses of Heaven
My friends seemed turned to me to empty shell. (…)

{see also: In Love with You: “O what a physical effect it has on me”;
To You: “I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut”}

“Let’s Fall in Love” by Ted Koehler (1894-1973; Washington, D.C., US; pianist, lyricist) (Diana Krall rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Let’s fall in love
Why shouldn’t we fall in love
Our hearts are made of it
Let’s take a chance
Why be afraid of it

Let’s close our eyes
And make our own paradise
Little we know of it
Still we can try
To make a go of it

We might have been meant for each other
To be or not to be, let our hearts discover (…)

“Linda” by Jack Lawrence (1912-2009; New York, US; songwriter, composer) (Buddy Clark rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

When I go to sleep
I never count sheep,
I count all the charms about Linda.

And lately it seems
in all of my dreams,
I walk with my arms about Linda.

But what good does it do me for Linda
doesn’t know that I exist?
Can’t help feeling gloomy,
think of all the lovin’ I’ve missed. (…)

“Real Live Girl” from the musical Little Me by Carolyn Leigh (1926-1983; New York, US; lyricist) (Sid Caesar rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Pardon me miss
but I’ve never done this
with a real live girl
what could be harmful
in holding an armful
of a real live girl
pardon me if you’re affectionate squeeze
fogs up my goggles and
buckels my knees
I’m simply drown in the sight, and the sounds,
and the scent and the feel
of a real live girl
nothing can beat getting swept off your feet
by a real live girl (…)

{see also You Fascinate Me: “I have a feeling that, beneath a little halo on your noble head”} Andrew in the original stage production of My Fair Lady (1956) (source)

“On the Street Where You Live” from the musical My Fair Lady by Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986; New York, US; lyricist, librettist) (Bill Shirley rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I have often walked down this street before
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before
All at once am I several stories high
Knowing I’m on the street where you live

Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour out of every door?
No, it’s just on the street where you live

And oh, the towering feeling just to know somehow you are near
The overpowering feeling that any second you may suddenly appear

People stop and stare, they don’t bother me
For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be
Let the time go by, I won’t care if I
Can be here on the street where you live

“Whether thou smile or frown, thou beauteous face” by Charles Lloyd (1775-1839; Birmingham, England; translator of Ovid’s Metamorphoses) – from A Century of Sonnets: The Romantic-Era Revival, 1750-1850

Whether thou smile or frown, thou beauteous
Thy charms alike possess my throbbing heart,
Nor canst thou gesture, look, or word impart
Fraught not with magic of enchanting grace:
Oh, could I once thy lovely form embrace!
Die on thy lips, and, as fierce raptures dart,
Breathe sighs that bid the mutual soul depart!
And with keen glances, keener glances chase!
It may not be, Oh Love! — Thou gavest to me
A heart too prone thy raptures to adore!
The touch, the look, the sigh, are mine no more!
Love is departed, and in agony
The infatuated spirit must deplore
That after love no other joy can be.

“I’m Glad There Is You” by Paul Madeira Mertz (1904-1998; Pennsylvania, US; lyricist) (Ella Fitzgerald rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

In this world of ordinary people
Extraordinary people
I’m glad there is you
In this world of overrated pleasures
Of underrated treasures
I’m glad there is you
I live to love, I love to live
With you beside me
This role so new I’ll muddle through
With you to guide me
In this world where many, many play at love
And hardly any stay in love
I’m glad there is you
More than ever
I’m glad there is you (…)

“’O Hero, Hero!’ thus he cried full oft” from Hero and Leander: The Second Sestiad by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593; Canterbury, England; playwright)
– from Erotic Literature: Twenty-Four Centuries of Sensual Writing

“O Hero, Hero!” thus he cried full oft;
And then he got him to a rock aloft,
Where having spied her tower, long stared he on’t,
And prayed the narrow toiling Hellespont
To part in twain, that he might come and go;
But still the rising billows answered, “No.”
With that he stripped him to the ivory skin
And, crying “Love, I come,” leaped lively in.
Whereat the sapphire visaged god grew proud,
And made his capering Triton sound aloud,
Imagining that Ganymede, displeased,
Had left the heavens; therefore on him he seized.
Leander strived; the waves about him wound,
And pulled him to the bottom, where the ground
Was strewed with pearl, and in low coral groves
Sweet singing mermaids sported with their loves
On heaps of heavy gold, and took great pleasure
To spurn in careless sort the shipwrack treasure.

“You Were Never Lovelier” by Johnny Mercer (1909-1976; Georgia, US; songwriter, lyricist) (Fred Astaire rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I was never able to recite a fable
That would make the party bright;
Sitting at the table I was never able
To become the host’s delight;
But now you’ve given me my after dinner story,
I’ll just describe you as you are in all your glory.

You were never lovelier,
You were never so fair,
Dreams were never lovelier,

Pardon me if I stare.

Down the sky the moonbeams fly to light your face;
I can only say they chose the proper place.
You were never lovelier,
And to coin a new phrase;
I was never luckier in my palmiest days.
Make a note, and you can quote me,
Honor bright,
You were never lovelier than you are tonight.

{see also Satin Doll: “Cigarette holder, / Which wigs me; / Over his shoulder, / I know he digs me” – Out of This World: “You’re clear out of this world / When I’m looking at you” }

“At Long Last Love”  by Cole Porter (1891-1964; Indiana, US; composer, songwriter) (Lena Horne rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Is it an earthquake or simply a shock?
Is it the good turtle soup or merely the mock?
Is it a cocktail, this feeling of joy?
Or is what I feel the real McCoy?
Is it for all time or simply a lark?
Is it Granada I see or only Asbury Park?
Is it a fancy not worth thinking of?
Or is it at long last love?

{see also I Get a Kick Out of You: “My story is much too sad to be told, But practically everything leaves me totally cold”}

“The Shining Posy” by Anthony Raftery (1779-1835; County Mayo, Ireland; wandering bard) – from Ireland’s Love Poems

There is a bright posy on the edge of the quay
And she far beyond Deirdre with her pleasant ways
Or if I would say Helen, the queen of the Greeks,
On whose account hundreds have fallen at Troy.
The flame and the white in her mingled together,
And sweeter her mouth than cuckoo on the bough,
And the way she has with her, where will you find them
Since died the pearl that was in Ballylaoi ?

If you were to see the sky-maiden decked out
On a fine sunny day in the street, and she walking,
The light shining out from her snow-white bosom
Would give sight of the eyes to a sightless man.
The love of hundreds is on her brow,
The sight of her as the gleam of the Star of Doom;
If she had been there in the time of the gods
It is not to Venus the apple would have gone. (…)

“I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)” by Harry Ruskin (1894-1969; Ohio, US; composer) (Doris Day rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I may be wrong but I think you’re wonderful
I may be wrong but I think you’re swell
I like your style say, I think it’s marvellous
I’m always wrong so how can I tell
Deuces to me are all aces
Life is to me just a bore
Faces are all open spaces
You might be John Barrymore
You came along say I think you’re wonderful
I think you’re grand but I may be wrong (…)

Sonnet 108 from Astrophel and Stella by Philip Sidney (1554-1586; Kent, England; courtier, scholar, soldier) – from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1

WHEN SORROW, using mine own fire’s might,
Melts down his lead into my boiling breast:
Through that dark furnace to my heart opprest,
There shines a joy from thee, my only light!
But soon as thought of thee breeds my delight,
And my young soul flutters to thee his nest!
Most rude DESPAIR, my daily unbidden guest,
Clips straight my wings, straight wraps me in his night.
And makes me then bow down my head, and say,
“Ah what doth PHŒBUS’ gold that wretch avail,
Whom iron doors do keep from use of day?”
So strangely, alas, thy works in me prevail:
That in my woes for thee, thou art my joy;
And in my joys for thee, my only annoy.

{see also Eleventh Song: “Who is it that this dark night / Underneath my window plaineth?”

Sonnet 21: “Your words my friend (right healthful caustics) blame / My young mind marred”
Sonnet 47: “What, have I thus betrayed my liberty?”
Sonnet 49: “I on my horse, and Love on me doth try / Our horsemanships”
Sonnet 53: “In martial sports I had my cunning tried”
Sonnet 54: “Because I breathe not love to every one”
Sonnet 61: “Oft with true sighs, oft with uncalled tears” *
Sonnet 69: “O joy, too high for my low style to show”
Sonnet 92: “Be your words made (good sir) of Indian ware”
Sonnet 107: “Stella, since thou so right a Princess art” from the Original 1971 Broadway production of the musical Follies (source)

“Losing My Mind” from the musical Follies by Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930; New York, US; musical theatre composer, lyricst) (Dorothy Collins rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

The sun comes up
I think about you
The coffee cup
I think about you
I want you so
It’s like I’m losing my mind

The morning ends
I think about you
I talk to friends
I think about you
And do they know
It’s like I’m losing my mind

All afternoon doing every little chore
The thought of you stays bright
Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor
Not going left
Not going right (…)

“Upon My Lady Carlisle’s Walking in Hampton Court Garden” by John Suckling (1609-1641; London, England; courtier, inventor of the card game cribbage) – from The Cavalier Poets: An Anthology

Didst thou not find the place inspired,
And flowers, as if they had desired
No other sun, start from their beds,
And for a sight steal out their heads?
Heardst thou not music when she talked?
And didst not find that as she walked
She threw rare perfumes all about,
Such as bean-blossoms newly out,
Or chafèd spices give?—

I must confess those perfumes, Tom,
I did not smell; nor found that from
Her passing by ought sprung up new.
The flowers had all their birth from you;
For I passed o’er the self-same walk
And did not find one single stalk
Of anything that was to bring
This unknown after-after-spring. (…)

“Infatuation” by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (1821-1873; Massachusetts, US; Romantic movement) – from Nineteenth Century American Poetry

‘Tis his one hope: all else that round his life
So fairly circles, scarce he numbers now.
The pride of name, a lot with blessings rife,
Determined friends, great gifts that him endow,
Are shrunk to nothing in a woman’s smile:
Counsel, reproof, entreaty, all are lost,
Like windy waters which their strength exhaust,
And leave no impress; worldly lips revile
With sneer and stinging gibe; but idly by,
Unfelt, unheard, the impatient arrows fly.
Careless, he joins a parasitic train, —
Fops, fools, and flatterers, whom her arts enchain,
Nor counts aught base that may to her pertain. (…)

“At Mass” by Unknown Irish (tr. by Robin Flower)
– from Ireland’s Love Poems

Ah! light, lovely lady with delicate lips aglow!
With breast more white than a branch heavy-laden with snow!
When my hand was lifted at Mass to salute the Host
I looked at you once and the half of my soul was lost.

“Just to see you I invent circuitous walks” by Unknown Afghani (tr. M. De Jaeger, S.B. Marjrough, & A. Velter) – from Songs of Love and War: Afghan Woman’s Poetry

Just to see you I invent circuitous walks.
Like a peddler I cry at every door.
Hold me tightly in your arms,
I have prowled around solitude’s prison far too long. (…)

“Ringleted Youth of My Love” by Unknown Irish (tr. Douglas Hyde)
– from Ireland’s Love Poems

RINGLETED youth of my love,
With thy locks bound loosely behind thee,
You passed by the road above,
But you never came in to find me;
Where were the harm for you
If you came for a little to see me,
Your kiss is a wakening dew
Were I ever so ill or so dreamy. (…)

“Sub Shop Girl” by Afaa Michael Weaver (Michael S. Weaver) (b. 1951; Maryland, US; professor) – from Spirit & Flame: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry

She is lovely. Her eyes are big almonds
floating over the electronic cash register.
She puts magic dust in my mayonnaise,
Hoochie-koochie notes in my fries.
There is no other reason to order
Tomatoes, lettuce, hot peppers, onions,
and french fries in a suit and tie.
I come nearer the shop tiptoeing in Florsheims.
With a quarter I set the mood on the jukebox.
“What do you want today?” she asks, “What is it, Baby?” (…)

“I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” by Paul Francis Webster (1907-1984; New York, US; lyricist) (Nina Simone rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Though folks with good intentions
Tell me to save my tears
Well I’m so mad about him
I can’t live without him

Never treats me sweet and gentle
The way he should
I’ve got it bad
And that ain’t good

My poor heart is so sentimental
Not made of wood
I’ve got it so bad
And that ain’t good (…)

“Excitement” by Polly Clark
“Crush” by Rigoberto Gonzalez
“Two Are Embracing” by John Gwyn Griffiths
“Once a girl, all April-fresh” by Fazil Iskander
“As Catullus wrote, a man’s voice deserts him” by Aleksandr Semionovic Kushner
“On First Reading Romeo and Juliet” by Diane Lockward
“A Winter’s Affection; radiomimetic” by Matt Robinson
Dancer: “Come back, come back again” by Unknown
“You have consumed my mouth but are not satisfied” by Unknown Afghani

2 thoughts on “Infatuation”

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