7 poems about romance

Photos by Mehwash Bhatti

Happy Valentine’s Day! 💘 Enjoy this selection of poems about romantic love…

1. “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns

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 played 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:
O I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

2. “First Love” by John Clare

I ne’er was struck before that hour
   With love so sudden and so sweet,
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
   And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale as deadly pale,
   My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked, what could I ail?
   My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
   And took my eyesight quite away,
The trees and bushes round the place
   Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
   Words from my eyes did start—
They spoke as chords do from the string,
   And blood burnt round my heart.

Are flowers the winter’s choice?
   Is love’s bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice,
   Not love's appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
   As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling-place
   And can return no more.

3. “Bedouin Song” by Bayard Taylor

From the Desert I come to thee
 On a stallion shod with fire;
And the winds are left behind
 In the speed of my desire.
Under thy window I stand,
 And the midnight hears my cry:
I love thee, I love but thee,
 With a love that shall not die
     Till the sun grows cold,
     And the stars are old,
     And the leaves of the Judgment
           Book unfold!
  Look from thy window and see
 My passion and my pain;
I lie on the sands below,
 And I faint in thy disdain.
Let the night-winds touch thy brow
 With the heat of my burning sigh,
And melt thee to hear the vow
 Of a love that shall not die,
     Till the sun grows cold,
     And the stars are old,
     And the leaves of the Judgment
           Book unfold!
  My steps are nightly driven
 By the fever in my breast,
To hear from thy lattice breathed
 The word that shall give me rest.
Open the door of thy heart,
 And open thy chamber door,
And my kisses shall teach thy lips
 The love that shall fade no more
     Till the sun grows cold,
     And the stars are old,
     And the leaves of the Judgment
           Book unfold!

4. “Ask Me Why I Love You” by Walter Everette Hawkins

Ask me why I love you, dear,
 And I will ask the rose
Why it loves the dews of Spring
 At the Winter’s close;
Why the blossoms’ nectared sweets
 Loved by questing bee,—
I will gladly answer you,
 If they answer me.

Ask me why I love you, dear,
 And I will ask the flower
Why it loves the Summer sun,
 Or the Summer shower;
I will ask the lover’s heart
 Why it loves the moon,
Or the star-besprinkled skies
 In a night in June.

Ask me why I love you, dear,
 I will ask the vine
Why its tendrils trustingly
 Round the oak entwine;
Why you love the mignonette
 Better than the rue,—
If you will but answer me,
 I will answer you.

Ask me why I love you, dear,
 Let the lark reply,
Why his heart is full of song
 When the twilight’s nigh;
Why the lover heaves a sigh
 When her heart is true;
If you will but answer me,
 I will answer you.

5. “Sonnet 116” by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
  If this be error and upon me proved,
  I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 

6. “Romance” by Claude McKay

To clasp you now and feel your head close-pressed,
Scented and warm against my beating breast;

To whisper soft and quivering your name,
And drink the passion burning in your frame;

To lie at full length, taut, with cheek to cheek,
And tease your mouth with kisses till you speak;

Love words, mad words, dream words, sweet senseless words,
Melodious like notes of mating birds;

To hear you ask if I shall love always,
And myself answer: Till the end of days;

To feel your easeful sigh of happiness
When on your trembling lips I murmur: Yes;

It is so sweet. We know it is not true.
What matters it? The night must shed her dew.

We know it is not true, but it is sweet—
The poem with this music is complete.

7. “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river
  And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
  With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
  All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
  Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
  And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
  If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
  And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
  If thou kiss not me?

Mama Pho, a gem in central Oslo

At a glance

Newly opened Mama Pho makes enjoying delicious Vietnamese food in central Oslo both accessible and comfortable. Unlike many other Vietnamese restaurants, the menu is concise and straightforward and the atmosphere is open and friendly. Since the crew behind Mama Pho also runs TeaOlogy, you can easily order bubble tea to go with your meal 😉

Spring rolls at Mama Pho, Oslo

“Everyone is family!”

Mama Pho is tucked away from the busy main street of Karl Johans gate inside the courtyard of Posthallen. Upon arrival at the restaurant, you are greeted by friendly staff who try to seat you as soon as possible. It is easy to feel at home as you sit down at your table amidst Scandinavian furniture and a sign that promises “Good food, good vibes, good times”. It is quite likely that you will be sitting in close proximity to complete strangers, but that hardly matters because (as a waiter happily told me) “Mama Pho is a family restaurant, so here, everyone is family!”

Phở a cut above the competition

Having sampled phở (Vietnamese noodle soup) various other Vietnamese restaurants in Oslo, I must say that Mama Pho’s preparation of the dish is a cut above the competition – fresh, flavourful, and authentic. While other Vietnamese restaurants let you choose whether you want phở with thinly-sliced beef, brisket, or meatballs; Mama Pho keeps it simple by offering only one (non-vegetarian) phở, containing all aforementioned kinds of beef. Those who are well-acquainted with Vietnamese cuisine may find that Mama Pho’s dishes are closer to the Hanoi style (simpler ingredients and less sweet than Saigon style).

Mama Pho at Mama Pho, Oslo
"Hanoi style's bún" at Mama Pho
“Hanoi style’s bún” at Mama Pho

I must also mention that bún bò Huế at Mama Pho is distinct from others I have tried (in Vietnam, the US, and Norway). The Mama Pho version of this dish much more umami-oriented and comes with its own chili sauce that adds both spice and flavour to the broth in a balanced way. Worth a try if you are looking to branch out from the usual phở 🙂

Bun bo Hue at Mama Pho, Oslo
Bún bò Huế at Mama Pho

P.S. Some of you may have noticed that I did not post my annual highlights before 2019 came to a close as well as general decrease in frequency of posts. I must confess that this is due to a combination of me working on various other projects and my indecision about the direction RFB will be heading in for the new decade. All I can say for now is that there will be changes in store. Stay tuned for updates, dear readers, and thank you for your support! ♥