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Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

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Rate this poem:(3.80 / 10 votes)

John Donne 1572 (London) – 1631 (London)

Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame,
Angels affect us oft, and worshipped be;
Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing I did see.
But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
More subtle than the parent is,
Love must not be, but take a body too;
And therefore what thou wert, and who,
I bid love ask, and now
That it assume thy body I allow,
And fix itself to thy lip, eye, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught
Every thy hair for love to work upon
Is much too much, some fitter must be sought;
For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme and scatt'ring bright, can love inhere.
Then as an angel, face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
So thy love may be my love's sphere.
Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air and angel's purity,
'Twixt women's love and men's will ever be.

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John Donne

John Donne was an English poet, satirist, lawyer and a cleric in the Church of England. more…

All John Donne poems | John Donne Books

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101 Comments

  • joed.03185
    Hi everyone! I'm new to the website, but I'm very happy to be here! I have a feeling I might be a little younger than most of the poets here, so I'm looking forward to hearing some good advice from more experienced folks. Thanks for having me here! 
    LikeReplyReport 54 days ago
  • LadyVylette
    It's good to be back
    LikeReplyReport 25 days ago
  • Shivanibhandarkar23
    This is my first time here . I'm new to poetry.Im hoping its a good journey ahead
    LikeReplyReport 312 days ago
  • PoetJean
    I was a long time member of poetry.com and really enjoyed the experience. I received so much encouragement that I published two book which are offered on Amazon.com. One is Feelings of Life and the other is Two Unzipped Lips. by Jean E. Gorney I'm so glad this is back. 
    LikeReplyReport 314 days ago
  • Kanoelani
    I am so happy that poetry.com is back up and running again.. I have missed it very much... I was a member before and still want to be one... Thank u....
    LikeReplyReport 314 days ago
  • MejustMe
    I used to belong to Poetry.com and was excited to see it up again. Hope to find some of my old poems on here and write many more. Hello everyone!
    LikeReplyReport 1419 days ago
    • sherriebenedict1982
      I too used to be in here in 2011 on til just seemed to vanish :( So I'm excited as well& hoping to see some old stuff as well and I've gotten much much better in my art :)
      LikeReplyReport 616 days ago
    • baby_p
      great
      LikeReplyReport 316 days ago
    • MejustMe
      Hi Sherrie. Nice to meet you. So cool that you have kept up your art. Looking forward to reading some of your poetry.
      LikeReplyReport 216 days ago
    • sherriebenedict1982
      I'm looking forward to yours and many others as well. I'm happy to be back in my happy place :) With all my favorite kinds of people
      LikeReplyReport 315 days ago
    • CrysIsALady82
      same here, things look so different! Which had me on pause about submitting and/or joining forces. So wishing everyone the best of luck with their writing and so forth.
      LikeReplyReport 114 days ago
    • naureen_n
      :) sure
      LikeReplyReport12 days ago
  • Sleepy_sheep
    I'm new to this website and I love poetry, I'm just not a great poet myself.
    LikeReplyReport 119 days ago
  • Sleepy_sheep
    I am also new to this website and I'm a little familiar with poetry, but not great at it.
    LikeReplyReport 219 days ago
  • alwayshavehope
    I am new to this website. I'm giving a shot at writing poetry, I'm just a beginner starting out. My main thing is Limericks or Haikus
    LikeReplyReport 328 days ago
  • Centra
    Nice, stay safe x
    LikeReplyReport1 month ago
  • DeborahBakerGordon
    I just joined today. I will comment as much as I am able, time allowing. I look forward to sharing too.
    LikeReplyReport 31 month ago
  • kiwiDave
    I'm another newbie. Finding my way around the website. Looks interesting.
    LikeReplyReport 61 month ago
    • Shinjos
      Likewise! It is indeed interesting :). All these collections and poems sitting in the cornerstone of the internet ;o;.
      LikeReplyReport 21 month ago
  • MarieAN
    this is absolutely beautiful
    LikeReplyReport 41 month ago
  • CrysIsALady82
    "The Road Not Taken" this poem involves energy, so much more! Which is appreciated, smiled upon. There is an amount of groove to it; should that make sense.
    LikeReplyReport 51 month ago
  • Adora
    Nice poetry
    LikeReplyReport 41 month ago
  • Shinjos
    I love how wholesome this entire comment section is ;D.
    LikeReplyReport 62 months ago
  • Centra
    Thank you
    LikeReplyReport 32 months ago
  • brijmohan_p
    Great poem, no words to write. I am thinking about and reviewing it every log in. Thanks.
    LikeReplyReport 22 months ago
  • Rivy
    I was here when I was younger and entered a poetry contest and actually won 2nd place. I am so glad to be back.
    LikeReplyReport 72 months ago
  • itsme
    I'm new here. Hi everyone
    LikeReplyReport 22 months ago
  • josepht.22759
    I just discovered it and like the rhythm and imagery.Thanks for publishing it.
    LikeReplyReport 53 months ago
  • AriDean
    I learned this in school
    LikeReplyReport 23 months ago
    • Centra
      Hi, thank you for your valuable comment, what is it you learnt in school, English Literature or poetry, Thank you. Grahame
      LikeReplyReport 13 months ago
  • andylyle1
    really missed Poetry.com had lots of poems posted there and had two of their badges
    LikeReplyReport 83 months ago
    • Soulwriter
      so glad you're posting your stuff here on the new site now :)
      LikeReplyReport 13 months ago
    • andylyle1
      Glad to have had my old posts recovered. Just had someone elses picture which I changed, Will have to post some new material
      LikeReplyReport 43 months ago
  • AriDean
    Cool
    LikeReplyReport3 months ago
  • billiedee_r
    Hi ambrosia
    LikeReplyReport3 months ago
  • StacyMevoli
    How are you guys :) Keep on writing :)
    LikeReplyReport 33 months ago
  • Ambrosia
    Hello fellow poets, glad to be back after all these years...
    LikeReplyReport 63 months ago
  • DavesGal
    Love that this is back after all this time
    LikeReplyReport 54 months ago
  • ludy_b
    Maybe for ideas on how to improve this website have a look at gedichten.nl. There the poems are divided in categories: 'poëzie' (poetry from historic authors), 'gedichten' (poems considered of poetic quality by the editors of the website), netgedichten (poems written and contributed by people with an account for the website) and 'hartenkreten' (poetic disclosures of emotions). Also this site has the category 'snelsonnet', used for comments on current affairs in a sonnet of six lines. The categories each have a Top-5 that shows the 5 with highest number of views and highest number of review stars per period. 
    LikeReplyReport 54 months ago
  • ErickGarcia
    I'm so grateful that I found this website. It truly feels gratifying to read poems (over and over) by poets that we adore and those written by the other members of Poetry.com. And to post our very own poems is equally satisfying to the soul.  
    LikeReplyReport 54 months ago
  • clare_l
    I'm new here! Hi!
    LikeReplyReport 34 months ago
  • JennT
    I'm writing again, after the death of my father. Whom passed away from pancreatic cancer just over a year ago. I feel my poems could help others with their grief as writing them and reading them has me. My Shedding Greif, is the title to one of my poems. Please read and be inspired. Thank you! Jennie Lynn Thrush 
    LikeReplyReport 54 months ago
    • rinat
      so sorry to hear for your loss. May your heart and soul find peace and comfort. we hope you will share with us your thoughts.
      LikeReplyReport 34 months ago
  • jane_l
    Thank you for starting Poetry.com again!! very excited to read others and publish mine!
    LikeReplyReport 44 months ago
  • S07R06Enopena53
    Thank you so much for keeping Poetry.com up and running again, and for Good!
    LikeReplyReport 54 months ago
  • willychuck12001
    I’ve been resting on the shelf gathering dust...well, lots of dust for the past 11 years but I think I’d like to share my attempts at poetry and learn and grow with others here. I’m glad poetry.com is back  
    LikeReplyReport 65 months ago
  • Dread
    I wasn't aware that poetry.com had went by the way-side until I got an email invitation from this resurrected version. The classic poets are all good, and I'd be hard-pressed to list more than a very few as favorites. Among those would be Poe, Shakespeare, Browning, Dickens....I also admire the writing of Khalil Gibran. 
    LikeReplyReport 45 months ago
  • arickards05
    so happy i found this site again! can't wait to add more of my stuff!
    LikeReplyReport 55 months ago
    • rinat
      We're happy to have you on board and we can't wait to help you reach new creativity heights.
      LikeReplyReport 24 months ago
  • thepoetiwasborn
    I'm a poet now and I write about almost everything, I can't keep track of all my poems so I have only posted two.
    LikeReplyReport 45 months ago
  • Victoria.Lamp1!
    I was once a poetry.com writer 15-20 years ago and my poems are lost in the wind but I am back with some great new stuff. From love, darkness, and straight up strange. Hope you enjoy what I share with you all. Victoria 
    LikeReplyReport 125 months ago
  • erica_s
    thank you so much for write these poetry
    LikeReplyReport 35 months ago
  • RAYJAY1980
    I've missed Poetry.com so much & I'm happy to see you back!!
    LikeReplyReport 45 months ago
  • carolynl.50097
    I am thrilled Poetry.com is back. Wondering if the Poetry in Motion contest will be back. Loved doing that every day, kept me writing. Been a while since I've written and I miss it. Thank you so much for coming back! 
    LikeReplyReport 55 months ago
  • DAH
    poetry.com! Bravo!
    LikeReplyReport 35 months ago
  • norwegianrhinowitch
    I did miss poetry.com . I see this new addition becoming a success..I am also on Hello Poetry..I am excited to share my poems here and look forward to being a part of the journey of Poetry.com..
    LikeReplyReport 55 months ago
    • M.K.Love
      I did to, I started sending in stuff in 1994. I won several awards and even had some stuff published in europe and the united kingdom. I was sad to see I couldn't find any of my old work on this new site. I guess we can write on once again! 
      LikeReplyReport 25 months ago
  • flowergirl
    I hope I can put poems in here!!
    LikeReplyReport 25 months ago
    • Soulwriter
      absolutely! Just sign up and you're set to add your stuff.
      LikeReplyReport4 months ago
    • Dread
      I'm not sure why, but some places for poetry don't want you to post your work. Perhaps they just want people to talk about poetry. I had joined the old poetry.com about 20 years ago and it was always post-friendly. I've only bothered to have one of mine published and it was in poetry.com's publication in print and poetry read aloud. You should have a good experience here. 
      LikeReplyReport 24 months ago
  • traviss.29597
    I dearly miss Poetry.com I do hope this one becomes just as great as the previous was in it's height.
    LikeReplyReport 55 months ago
  • preet_k
    Hi. New to the group. I have started writing poems.
    LikeReplyReport 85 months ago
  • robertrad2021
    Beautiful words
    LikeReplyReport 66 months ago
  • Ark
    It seems that I have stumbled across a poetry website. I think I'm going to post here, my poems. Hope they are good.
    LikeReplyReport 36 months ago
  • ShadeOfGreyLostInSpectrum
    New here, recent events have urged me to share a poem that has many meanings to me. I wrote it some time ago, but a new development has added new meaning that parallels my current situation. I thought that made it interesting enough to share. There are several underlying themes, but mainly I'd say it's about existence and mortality, god and science. I know this is very well covered and commonly written about, but I feel what I wrote offers a simple metaphor but is multi layered and fresh. 
    LikeReplyReport 56 months ago
    • rinat
      Welcome! Please add your poem at: https://www.poetry.com/addpoem.php Enjoy our platform
      LikeReplyReport6 months ago
  • Yajur
    Hello, am new here, just trying my hand at poetry and putting my thoughts here..
    LikeReplyReport 26 months ago
  • mikel_s
    Hello I'm new to the group!!!
    LikeReplyReport 56 months ago
  • Aideloje
    Good!
    LikeReplyReport 37 months ago
  • Poeticjustus
    Hi, I published a ton of poems some years ago, will I ever get access to those again on this site? Thank you.
    LikeReplyReport 177 months ago
  • SethJade
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, VERY WELL WRITTEN POEM ....KEEP ON WRITING
    LikeReplyReport 27 months ago
  • TankTopTaco
    The path of gray or gold is worn in the end of day. That's what I got from this poem.
    LikeReplyReport 57 months ago
  • RoshniKarole
    Thanks for Lovely Poem..
    LikeReplyReport 27 months ago
  • naureen_z
    i am looking for an old poem from 2013, I think of you written by Naurine Shah
    LikeReplyReport 17 months ago
  • harlow47
    can i retrieve my old poems from the old poetry.com site? i had quite a few poems on there.
    LikeReplyReport 67 months ago
    • rinat
      Dear harlow47, We are making an effort here trying to find a way to bring back some of the old poems -- we'll reach out with our findings in the next few weeks.
      LikeReplyReport 117 months ago
  • mhadjes
    Where would I find poems I published years ago?
    LikeReplyReport 77 months ago
    • rinat
      We are trying to find a way to bring back some of the old poems -- we'll reach out with our findings in the next few weeks...
      LikeReplyReport 77 months ago
  • martin_i
    I am sorry. I never had posted any of my poems here.
    LikeReplyReport 17 months ago
    • rinat
      There's always a first time, so you are more than welcome to enjoy our platform..
      LikeReplyReport 17 months ago
  • ToriRae
    Hi ive been trying to find the poetry that I wrote when it was poetry.com the original. But no luck can you help me. it would be under Tori Rae Tanner Thank you
    LikeReplyReport 17 months ago
    • rinat
      Dear Tori Rae Tanner, We are making an effort here trying to find a way to bring back some of the old poems -- we'll reach out with our findings in the next few weeks.
      LikeReplyReport 47 months ago
    • ToriRae
      thank you.
      LikeReplyReport 17 months ago
  • Amgleason91
    Hi I had submitted 2 poems probably around 2002 that received Editor's Choice Awards. I can not seem to find them. The one I am most concerned about finding is "Angels". Can you locate it for me please?? 
    LikeReplyReport7 months ago
  • iggyg85
    If I submitted a poem before I created an account, how can I get it linked to my account?
    LikeReplyReport7 months ago
  • noumans_v
    All Poetry Points I Love Poetry
    LikeReplyReport 27 months ago
  • Lindylou17
    Hi some of my poetry submitted has been duplicated can this be sorted as there seems to be no edit and delete open to do this. With regards linda Walker
    LikeReplyReport7 months ago
  • utsickbrayden
    how do I get my poetry seen by more people and also how do I get my name on the poetry I submitted?
    LikeReplyReport 17 months ago
  • olsimpson2202
    I have published a poem and put no picutre but its given me a random picture of a kid next to my name, how do i get rid of that?
    LikeReplyReport7 months ago
  • SarahRoseAllButOne
    I just signed. I published poems a bit earlier. Under my poems there is another poets account linked to it. Would you pls sort it out?
    LikeReplyReport7 months ago
  • Angelic13
    I lost many poems , I can't find it. on poetry.com from 2003 and 2004. How I can find it. Thank you.
    LikeReplyReport 37 months ago
    • rinat
      Dear Angelic13, We are trying to find a way to bring back some of the old poems -- we'll reach out with our findings in the next few weeks...
      LikeReplyReport 27 months ago
  • Lindylou17
    I lost many poems and my name disappeared since this site has changed. Such a shame to lose all My poems
    LikeReplyReport 88 months ago
  • a.bold.beautiful.service
    Reading over some of my poetry, thought about International Poetry.com in 2004 when I entered my 1st competition and they sent me a $50.00 gift card. Welcome back!!! I was so excited to see a new beginning and ownership. I truly enjoyed the community then and hoping this continues throughout the years. 
    LikeReplyReport 28 months ago
  • GrumpyIndian_1
    i HAVE SO MANY WORDS INSIDE ME,JUST LEARNING HOW TO PUT THEM TOGETHER.HOPE YOU CAN HELP ME ALONG THE WAY.CRITISIZM OR PRAISE,BOTH ARE WELCOME.I AM VERY GREEN.JANIS KIMREY
    LikeReplyReport 28 months ago
  • sakhabula
    Thanks
    LikeReplyReport 18 months ago
  • Ashleyink
    I just posted a poem before I made my account. Just wondering how I connect it to my page?
    LikeReplyReport8 months ago
  • 4zebra2u
    Hi I'm new here but not new to poetry, poetry platforms , both passive and interactive, being published and participating in over a hundred workshops. On that basis I do have some thoughts for what its worth in terms of your desire to create more dynamic engagement, relevance and expansion. I notice that with in a split second of posting a poem I have been favorited. I love attention but what does it mean if it is produced by a algorithm, and my fan is a cyborg? Do you think this site needs to create frequent and real interaction? Everyone wants attention, to be read and to be read by someone they respect and whos opinion strikes a chord and that they TRUST. One of the challenges of workshops is that there's lots of inexperienced writers critiquing each other. Its improbable that much is gained except frustration under those circumstances, although being favorited or kind comments by another is always encouraging. So the question remains how to create a structure to accomplish this if you want it? Nothing is easy, nothing is perfect. How does one hear criticism without feeling discouraged? Every light casts a shadow, yet with out dynamic interaction and those points of illumination there is only posting into a void and the emotional emptiness that comes with it. Perhaps these are something's you are already thinking about? Best Z 
    LikeReplyReport 28 months ago
    • JhainDoh
      Hey love I just wanna say welcome. Its my first time on this platform but I know someone who has utilized their old platform. Maybe we can discover the newness of the site 2gether.
      LikeReplyReport8 months ago
    • 4zebra2u
      That sounds really good Jhain ... I thought about your suicide poem and it alluded yo. (between the lines) the idea of disjuncture or a kind of sensual letting go, dissolution and release. What do u think?
      LikeReplyReport8 months ago
    • JhainDoh
      thanks for insight. I agree. Death even in its unknown can be inviting when life has you as a target for tears. Thx for reading it. I hope it helps someone to pick up a pen vs pills.
      LikeReplyReport8 months ago
    • 4zebra2u
      Perhaps we all know death? Remember being before birth? Were we dead then and are we back? Is there conciousness with out time or a body of flesh and blood? Is there just sleep with cyclic awakenings, or is there nothing at all? Do we know anything, or do we just think we do? Form ...No form Form ...No form Form ...No form Are you a sacrificial Aztec princess ??? xoxoxoxox 
      LikeReplyReport 18 months ago
  • MoonFlowers
    I liked how the website was before. This is hard to navigate and it doesn’t feel like it’s meant for just anyone to share their poetry. Before it felt more open to anyone to share. Also how am I supposed to find poems that I don’t already know the name of? 
    LikeReplyReport8 months ago
  • Supah_usa
    Everytime you change your site my poetry and name vanishes?
    LikeReplyReport 18 months ago
  • Shanmcclain
    I loved it
    LikeReplyReport8 months ago
  • JhainDoh
    Welcome all New visitors to this site. I hope you read something inspirational and motivational. This is my 1st time exploring the site and posting some of my works. As I continue to explore I hope their are many networking possibilities on this site. 
    LikeReplyReport 48 months ago
  • emongo_e
    i love it,
    LikeReplyReport 411 months ago
  • John MacEwen
    Red lights green lights strawberry lime A girl just died and she was a friend of mine We used to sing and dance and twirl in the pines But now shes gone and she was a friend of mine laugh out loud and cry inside life’ so large... Who’s in charge lost track of time Now she’s gone. And she was a friend of mine I never thought I’d feel the way I do now I never thought I could feel so much pain Oh God please. Wait...God can’t stop the rain Now she’s gone and she was a friend of mine. 
    LikeReplyReport 141 year ago
  • Hassan Hegazy
    Good work
    LikeReplyReport 11 year ago
  • Emad Alzayat
    I have very nice poem for hospital work.
    LikeReplyReport 51 year ago
  • Iftikhar Ahmed
    Reading of beautiful poerty composed by all eminent poets is my lust.
    LikeReplyReport 11 year ago
  • Iftikhar Ahmed
    When I compose any poem it console my heart, mind and soul. I become fresh and feel a sense of pleasure and achievement. The use of rhymic beauty, alliterations, allegory and imagery causes extraordinary attraction in the poetry. I have a passionate lover of such a poetry. 
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
  • Lynn Dowless
    Often I feel that I am an observer of sight, a receiver of sensations, about which I write, and such is my only purpose in life. Who, pray tell dear one, shall be around to make the record when its all done? 
    LikeReplyReport 11 year ago
  • Janet Grace Esson-Scott
    THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE-RAS CARDO REGGAE- FROM TRENCH TOWN. WHY IS IT THAT YOU HAVE OTHERS USING HIS NAME? THIS MUST CHANGE TO SHOW THE TRUTH. THERE IS ONLY ONE- RICARDO (RAS CARDO)SCOTT ALSO FROM TRENCH TOWN WHO MENTORED BOB MARLEY AND PETER TOSH. THOSE USING HIS NAME AND COPYRIGHTED PROPRIETARY DESIGNATIONS MUST STOP. WHAT IS POSTED SO FAR USING HIS EMAIL ON QUOTES AND BIOGRAPHIES SEEMS TO BE OK AT THIS TIME. I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU REGARDING THIS POSTING PROTECTION. SINCERELY. 
    LikeReplyReport2 years ago
  • Jahnique-Angel Hicks-Church
    RED LIGHT was written by myself ......... JAHNIQUE--NGEL....HICKS Thankyou
    LikeReplyReport 22 years ago
  • Walter Jackson
    Most modern writers lack the skill and drive to possess our minds for very long. I want to be driven to think and having done so, realize another step in my life's dream.
    LikeReplyReport 23 years ago
    • Jesus M Jacinto
      Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness. Because you conceive of time as a stream, a change within you, there is something which is changeless. You can call it timeless because you are accustomed to time being synonymous with change. That timeless within you, that unchanging within you is aware of the innermost core of existence too, is aware that all change is superficial. 
      LikeReplyReport1 year ago
  • Walter Jackson
    EmilyDickinson is one of my favorite writers as is Walt Whitman, different yet both tough the inner soul so resolutely.
    LikeReplyReport 13 years ago
  • Mark Verrell
    Would i trade the words to stand alone, and be a poet whose words stand in stone Would i trade words to keep me in verse and rythme For all time Would i trade the words to flip sonnet and lyre on the toss of a dime Yes i would trade words for sure to make it certain my words endure Yes id trade words that keep my words in place and bring a smile to your face 
    LikeReplyReport 13 years ago
  • Walter Jackson
    Hard to believe, but men at war like to remember their loves. As real as war and death are to a soldier; quiet moments in the trenches with a picture of a love is just as compelling and real!
    LikeReplyReport 13 years ago
  • Mark Verrell
    She is GREAT, TIMELESS. AN AMERICAN TREASURE
    LikeReplyReport 23 years ago
  • Walter Jackson
    He speaks well of sharing life as a soldier not just an officer. But the plain bread and salt too.
    LikeReplyReport 23 years ago
  • Walter Jackson
    Can't fault Kipling, reading him is like drinking spring water!
    LikeReplyReport 23 years ago
  • Mark Verrell
    I wasnt like you getting lost in the words of the poet.i wasnt like you being enthralled and taken by all those words and verses.i needed more warmth than that and more TRUTH,you know to tell you the truth i needed you the you without all that.yes i needed you more than you knew.more than romantic places and more than exotic artifacts and legends i needed you even when. There was nothing to gain when there was only a future of being shunned and disrespected i needed wanted you. Can you beat that 
    LikeReplyReport 13 years ago
  • Mark Verrell
    "your body makes eyes at me" has more zing
    LikeReplyReport 23 years ago

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