English Poems

The Most Beautiful English Poems Everyone Should Know

English poems are considered the cornerstones of literary beauty because of their unmatched capacity to arouse deep feelings and insights through skillfully chosen language. There is a rich tapestry of poetry classics in English literature that have withstood the test of time and still enthrall readers everywhere. 

Every poem, from Shakespeare’s ageless sonnets to the ethereal lyrics of Romantic writers like Wordsworth and Keats, provides a window into the human experience and invites us to consider the intricacies of life, revel in the pleasures of love, and be in awe of the wonders of nature. This carefully chosen collection of poems is sure to enchant, inspire, and confirm the timeless ability of English poetry to pique the imagination and move the soul, regardless of your level of poetry expertise or level of interest in verse.

Come along with us as we explore the beauty of the most beautiful English poems everyone should know during this literary journey.

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Beautiful English Poems

1. Come, And Be My Baby by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s poem “Come, And Be My Baby” invites the reader to accept the warmth and vulnerability of love. It is a beautiful and intimate poem. Using striking pictures and tactful arguments, Angelou extends an invitation to her partner to partake in the happiness and company of a life integrated. This short but moving poem masterfully expresses the core of love’s invitation, creating a rich tapestry of acceptance and longing that readers will find incredibly moving.

The highway is full of big cars going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn
Some people wrap their lives around a cocktail glass
And you sit wondering
where you’re going to turn.
I got it.
Come.  And be my baby.

Some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow
But others say we’ve got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
what you’re gonna do.
I got it.
Come.  And be my baby.

2. Habitation by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s “Habitation” is a thoughtful examination of the intricacies of interpersonal relationships and the passing of time. Using vivid imagery and thoughtful contemplation, Atwood explores the subtleties of communal areas and the affective terrain they encompass. Readers are prompted to consider the fleeting nature of relationships, the remnants of memories left behind, and the permanent presence of absence in this poem. Atwood crafts a moving reflection on the entwining of lives inside the framework of habitation with lyrical language and astute observation.

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
                    the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire 

3. The More Loving One by W.H. Auden 

W.H. Auden’s poem “The More Loving One” offers a thoughtful analysis on the nature of unrequited love and the human ability to bounce back from setbacks. Auden examines the asymmetry of attachment through moving imagery and reflective reflections, asking if it is preferable to offer love unconditionally or to withhold it out of self-defense. 

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

5. Love and Friendship by Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë’s “Love and Friendship” is a compelling examination of the intricacies of interpersonal connections, drawing a contrast between the transient nature of romantic love and the permanent links of friendship. Brontë explores the depths of the human heart, revealing the nuances of affection, devotion, and treachery with evocative language and astute insight. Through navigating the shifting sands of emotion, the poem reveals the true companionship’s steadiness and the delicate beauty of love’s illusions. 

Love is like the wild rose-briar,

Friendship like the holly-tree—

The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms

But which will bloom most constantly?

The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,

Its summer blossoms scent the air;

Yet wait till winter comes again

And who will call the wild-briar fair?

Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now

And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,

That when December blights thy brow

He still may leave thy garland green.

6. To Be In Love by Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks’ “To Be In Love” is a moving examination of the paradoxes and intricacies present in the experience of love. By contrasting moments of joy with moments of misery, Brooks explores the turbulent emotions that come with romantic entanglements through vivid imagery and poetic language.

To be in love

Is to touch with a lighter hand.

In yourself you stretch, you are well.

You look at things

Through his eyes.

A cardinal is red.

A sky is blue.

Suddenly you know he knows too.

He is not there but

You know you are tasting together

The winter, or a light spring weather.

His hand to take your hand is overmuch.

Too much to bear.

You cannot look in his eyes

Because your pulse must not say

What must not be said.

When he

Shuts a door-

Is not there_

Your arms are water.

And you are free

With a ghastly freedom.

You are the beautiful half

Of a golden hurt.

You remember and covet his mouth

To touch, to whisper on.

Oh when to declare

Is certain Death!

Oh when to apprize

Is to mesmerize,

To see fall down, the Column of Gold,

Into the commonest ash.

7. She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron 

Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty” is a classic tribute to the grace and beauty of women. Byron extols the virtues of an alluring woman who possesses both an attractive exterior and an inner kindness with exquisite language and profound imagery. 

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express,

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

8. Heart, We Will Forget Him! by Emily Dickinson 

Emily Dickinson’s dramatic portrayal of loss and the human spirit’s resiliency in the face of lost love is found in her poem “Heart, we will forget him.” Dickinson conveys the turbulent feelings of acceptance and sadness with her signature depth and succinctness.

Heart! We will forget him!

You and I – tonight!

You may forget the warmth he gave –

I will forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me

That I may straight begin!

Haste! lest while you’re lagging

I remember him!

9. Air and Angels by John Donne 

John Donne’s “Air and Angels” is a philosophical examination of the intricacies involved in spirituality and love. Donne addresses the ethereal character of both amorous and divine love in this poem, evoking rich imagery and complex conceits to capture the indescribable aspects of each. The term alone sets the stage for a study of the transcendence by implying a comparison between the terrestrial and celestial realms. 

Twice or thrice had I lov’d thee,

Before I knew thy face or name;

So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame

Angels affect us oft, and worshipp’d 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 in 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;

         Ev’ry 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 angels’ purity,

‘Twixt women’s love, and men’s, will ever be.

10. for him by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur’s “for him” is a moving meditation on the intricacies of love, longing, and self-discovery. Kaur examines the depths of emotional openness as well as the path to empowerment and healing in her poetry. She explores themes of intimacy, loss, and resiliency while navigating the complex complexities of relationships with her signature brevity and unvarnished honesty.


it won’t

be love at

first sight when

we meet it’ll be love

at first remembrance

‘cause i’ve recognized you

in my mother’s eyes when she tells me,

marry the type of man you’d want to raise your son to be like.

Explore English Poems!

In summary, the trip through these classic English poetry has been an engrossing investigation of the human condition in all of its manifestations. Every poem, from the heartfelt lines of Maya Angelou to the philosophical reflections of John Donne, has provided a window into the depths of human feeling, the intricacies of interpersonal relationships, and the eternal ability of language to highlight the wonders of life. 

We are reminded of the universality of human longing, the tenacity of the human spirit, and the deep links that bind us all together when we consider the words of these great poets. I hope these poems will always be a source of inspiration and enrichment in our lives, acting as rays of wonder, hope, and consolation in the always-shifting fabric of human existence.



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