Love Words With Staying Power?

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Alyson Hurt/NPR

Lasting Love Poems?

Recently, we marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's sonnets on Morning Edition. It gave us an excuse to think about the next 400 years: Could any words of love from our time possibly last as long as Shakespeare's poetry?

We put the question to you, our listeners. We asked you to suggest a modern love poem or song that's good enough — enduring enough — to be remembered 400 years from now.

Several hundred people sent suggestions, and it turns out a lot of you are Bob Dylan fans. For great love music, you also recommended the Beatles' "In My Life," Janis Joplin's performance of Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee," Leonard Cohen and Joan Baez.

You also voted for the love lyrics of Billy Idol, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and 50 Cent.

Many of you suggested great romantic dialogue from the movies, though who knows if the movies will even exist in 400 years. There were the usual suspects, like Casablanca, but there were also some surprising choices, such as this line from Jerry Maguire: "You had me at 'hello.' "

And some of you waxed poetic about plain old poetry. Gwendolyn Brooks, E.E. Cummings and Pablo Neruda — below is a tiny sampling of some of the more literary suggestions submitted.

Read more listener responses here, and if you missed the chance to submit your ideas, you still can! Share them with us in the comments section below. Remember, we're looking for words of romance that might last the next 400 years.

when you have forgotten Sunday: the love story

And when you have forgotten the bright bedclothes on a Wednesday and a Saturday,
And most especially when you have forgotten Sunday —
When you have forgotten Sunday halves in bed,
Or me sitting on the front-room radiator in the limping afternoon
Looking off down the long street
To nowhere,
Hugged by my plain old wrapper of no-expectation
And nothing-I-have-to-do and I'm-happy-why?
And if-Monday-never-had-to-come —
When you have forgotten that, I say,
And how you swore, if somebody beeped the bell,
And how my heart played hopscotch if the telephone rang;
And how we finally went in to Sunday dinner,
That is to say, went across the front room floor to the ink-spotted table in the southwest corner
To Sunday dinner, which was always chicken and noodles
Or chicken and rice
And salad and rye bread and tea
And chocolate chip cookies —
I say, when you have forgotten that,
When you have forgotten my little presentiment
That the war would be over before they got to you;
And how we finally undressed and whipped out the light and flowed into bed,
And lay loose-limbed for a moment in the week-end
Bright bedclothes,
Then gently folded into each other —
When you have, I say, forgotten all that,
Then you may tell,
Then I may believe
You have forgotten me well.

Poem #20

Tonight I Can Write
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, "The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance."
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.
This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.
Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Somewhere I have Never Traveled, Gladly Beyond

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
,your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously)her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

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