25+ Poems About Breaking Up, Grief, and Heartbreak for Readers Who Aren’t Excited About Valentine’s Day

When a relationship ends, it may seem as though your life is over, and it has a profound impact on the lives of everyone involved. Poetry about a break up is probably going to be filled with a lot of sorrow, rage, and grief.

Breakup poems

Any relationship will experience heartbreak, and everyone handles them differently. Poetry about heartbreak might give you courage in such circumstances.

1. “After Love” By Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale

Excerpt:

There is no magic any more,

We meet as other people do,

You work no miracle for me

Nor I for you.

2. “Oxymoronic Love” By Jennifer Militello

oxymoronic love

Excerpt:

Hatred is the new love. Rage is right. Touch

is touch. The collars of the coat turned down,

point up. The corners of our hearts are smoothed

with rough. Our glass breaks slick, our teeth

rip soft. The mollusk of me, shell-less.

3. “I Loved You…” By Aleksander Pushkin

Excerpt:

I loved you: and, it may be, from my soul

The former love has never gone away,

But let it not recall to you my dole;

I wish not sadden you in any way.

I loved you silently, without hope, fully,

In diffidence, in jealousy, in pain;

I loved you so tenderly and truly,

As let you else be loved by any man.

4. “My Honest Poem” By Rudy Francisco

5. “The Break Up Poem” By Rage Almighty

6. “The Fist” By Derek Walcott

Excerpt:

This fist clenched round my heart

loosens a little, and I gasp

brightness, but it tightens

again. When have I ever not loved

the pain of love? But this has moved

7. “Stay With Me” By Bianca Phipps

8. “Heavy” By Mary Oliver

Excerpt:

That time

I thought I could not

go any closer to grief

without dying

I went closer,

and I did not die.

Surely God

had his hand in this,

9. “A Poem From The Princess Saves Herself In This One” By Amanda Lovelace

10. “What Lips my Lips Have Kissed, and where, and why” By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Excerpt:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,

I have forgotten, and what arms have lain

Under my head till morning; but the rain

Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh

Upon the glass and listen for reply,

And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain

For unremembered lads that not again

Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

 11. “Mad Girl’s Love Song” By Sylvia Plath

Excerpt:

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;

I lift my lids and all is born again.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,

And arbitrary blackness gallops in:

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

12. “Sonnet 139” By William Shakespeare

Excerpt:

O, call not me to justify the wrong

That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;

Wound me not with thine eye but with thy tongue;

Use power with power, and slay me not by art.

13. “Prism” By Andrea Gibson

14. “Never Give All the Heart” By W.B. Yeats

Excerpt:

Never give all the heart, for love

Will hardly seem worth thinking of

To passionate women, if it seems

Certain, and they never dream

That it fades out from kiss to kiss;

For everything that’s lovely is

But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.

15. “Movement Song” By Audre Lorde

Excerpt:

I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck

moving away from me

beyond anger or failure

your face in the evening schools of longing

through mornings of wish and ripen

we were always saying goodbye

in the blood in the bone over coffee

before dashing for elevators going

in opposite directions

without goodbyes.

16. “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love” By Warsan Shire

17. “Local News: Woman Dies In Chimney” By Kristin Tracy

Excerpt:

They broke up and she, either fed up or drunk or undone,

ached to get back inside. Officials surmise

she climbed a ladder to his roof, removed

the chimney cap and entered feet first. Long story short,

she died there. Stuck. Like a tragic Santa. Struggling

for days, the news explains. It was a smell that led

to the discovery of her body. One neighbor

speaks directly into the microphone, asks how a person

18. “The Breakup” By Kyla Jenee Lacey

19. “Poem From Pillow Thoughts” By Courtney Peppernell

Pillow thoughts

20. “This Was Once A Love Poem” By Jane Hirshfield

Excerpt:

This was once a love poem,

before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,

before it found itself sitting,

perplexed and a little embarrassed,

on the fender of a parked car,

while many people passed by without turning their heads.

21. “Disappearing Love” By Gary R. Hess

Excerpt:

What happened to our love?

It used to be so bright

Loving, laughing, caring

Then soon caught the night

You were my one and only love

Cared for you too much

Then something happened

And slept with that man

22. “Are All the Breakups in your Poems Real?” By Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

Excerpt:

If by real you mean as real as a shark tooth stuck

in your heel, the wetness of a finished lollipop stick,

the surprise of a thumbtack in your purse—

then Yes, every last page is true, every nuance,

bit, and bite. Wait. I have made them up—all of them—

and when I say I am married, it means I married

all of them, a whole neighborhood of past loves.

23. “You Fit Into Me” By Margaret Atwood

Excerpt:

You fit into me

like a hook into an eye

a fish hook

an open eye

24. “You Thought” By Dorothea Lasky

Excerpt:

You thought I’d flipped the switch and I hadn’t

You thought I’d left the window open

And I wouldn’t

You thought I’d turn the dial up

But I didn’t

You thought I’d ring the sun the super

But I shouldn’t

You thought I’d unlock the beehive

But I wouldn’t

25. “A Winter’s Tale” By D.H. Lawrence

Excerpt:

Yesterday the fields were only grey with scattered snow,

And now the longest grass leaves hardly emerge;

Yet her deep footsteps mark the snow and go

On towards the pines at the hills’ white verge.

26. “Love Elegy In The Chinese Garden, With Koi” By Nathan Mcclain

Excerpt:

Near the entrance, a patch of tall grass.

Near the tall grass, long-stemmed plants;

each bending an ear-shaped cone

to the pond’s surface. If you looked closely,

you could make out silvery koi

swishing toward the clouded pond’s edge

27. “I Wanted To Make Myself Like The Ravine” By Hannah Gamble

Excerpt:

I wanted to make myself like the ravine

so that all good things

would flow into me.

Because the ravine is lowly,

it receives an abundance.

28. “Love I’m Done With You” By Ross Gay

Excerpt:

You ever wake up with your footie PJs warming

your neck like a noose? Ever upchuck

after a home-cooked meal? Or notice

how the blood on the bottoms of your feet

just won’t seem to go away? Love, it used to be

you could retire your toothbrush for like two or three days and still

29. “Heavy” By Mary Oliver

Excerpt:

That time I thought I could not go

any closer to grief without dying

I went closer, and I did not die.

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