Write a Poem for your Valentine

February 13, 2019

Award-winning poet and National Poetry Day Ambassador Joseph Coelho has found the way to your true love’s heart (and maybe a lifetime of poetry writing too). Read on!


The most amorous day of the year is upon us. Valentines Day is a day of heart-thumping joy for some and bitter-filled resentment for others.

Whatever your take on the day poetry can help and there are no end of fabulous poems that you can find, in countless anthologies from E.E. Cummings ‘I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)’ to Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Valentine’. Whilst these poems are incredible translations of the soul, there is something about writing a poem yourself that gives a personal touch no poem from any other poet could possible replicate. Do you love the way your loved one is addicted to diet coke? Do you cherish the way they leave hearts written in the steam of the bathroom mirror every morning? Is there an annoying habit that you wish to lovingly tease them with?

For too long we’ve seen poetry as something that belongs to the lofty realms of THE POETS, but in truth poetry belongs to us all and to that end I offer you this simple poem writing exercise so that you may give the person you love, respect, want to feel good… a poem that could only be written by you and that could only be intended for them…

Now before we start remember that this is just a guide, there really is no right or wrong to poetry, you should feel free to take from this exercise what is useful and discard what is not, make it longer, make it shorter, use it as a warm-up before writing something totally different or stick rigidly to the rules as presented here, it’s up to you…

I have set out the bare bones of a Shakespearean sonnet, three verses, with alternate rhymes and one verse made up of two rhyming lines. But don’t forget this is just a guide and you don’t have to stick to the rigid sonnet form. I have filled the example below with some rhyming words which I hope will get you thinking about those personal ticks that you love about your special other – all you have to do is fill in the gaps. If you want you can change the rhyming word pairs to make them truly your own.

And for an extra challenge, should you want to be absolutely true to the Shakespearean sonnet form, you can even write each line in iambic Pentameter with ten syllables in each line following a rhythm that rises and falls, ti-tum, ti-tum, ti-tum, ti-tum, ti-tum….

Good luck!
______________________________________________________________ shining

______________________________________________________________ above

______________________________________________________________ dining

______________________________________________________________ love

______________________________________________________________ smile

______________________________________________________________ giggle

______________________________________________________________ style

______________________________________________________________ wiggle

______________________________________________________________ bright

______________________________________________________________ start

______________________________________________________________ night

______________________________________________________________ heart

______________________________________________________________ days

______________________________________________________________ always