Shakespeare was good, but when it comes to African American love poetry, well… he leaves a lot to be desired. You want to show your sweetheart that your love is deep so why not borrow the words of African poets? Yes, the language of love is universal and knows no continental boundaries but there are expressions of love that the ancient Egyptians used that can only be said the way they said it.
That way with words was inherited from our ancestors. Modern day African poets are still composing marriage love poems and wedding vow poems that get right to the core of your loved one’s heart. Consider incorporating some (or maybe even all) of the wording of the African American love poetry below into your wedding vows. These poetic wedding vows will be a fresh twist from the more traditional wedding vows.
If you aren’t comfortable reciting African American love poetry to your honey, then hop over to the creative marriage proposals page and get some ideas for alternatives there.
African American Love Poetry
O my queen,
Proud and glorious
Exalted among women,
I will cry for you
Till the end of my life
– My Queen – Excerpt from Swahili Love Poem
O my beautiful on.
Are you not my health and my life?
You are health to the heart that finds you.
– Ancient Egyptian love poem
The voice of the wild goose shrills,
It is caught by its bait;
My love of you pervades me,
I cannot loosen it.
I shall retrieve my nets,
But what do I tell my mother,
To whom I go daily,
Laden with bird catch?
I have spread no snares today,
I am caught in my love for you!
The wild goose soars and swoops,
It alights on the net;
Many birds swarm about,
I have work to do.
I am held fast by my love,
Alone, my heart meets your heart,
From your beauty I’ll not part!
– Egyptian love poem
She is the only girl. There are no others.
She is more beautiful than any other.
She is a star goddess arising.
She has captured my heart.
– Egyptian love poem
I am not just a body for you.
You have traveled further into me, with me, beyond yourself to me,
You have crossed boundaries that encase me, enclose me,
Opened doors to new worlds, beneath new suns which know no settings,
Now you can cross oceans, you will not leave me,
A void like the silent shell on the shore.
You will be here in the rain,
In the sunlight, walking, talking
Laughing to the roofless skies,
You will be here in the sea,
In the storm, thinking, suffering, loving,
Merging in the million drops
Which know no bodies
No boundaries beyond this mystic mutuality.
Where I am, where you are;
Now you can go to other bodies
Beyond this shore
Love them, stir them,
Give them all of you and me
I can enchain them, encircle them,
Encompass them all with your love and mine,
Desireless and free.
– Shakuntala Hawaldar (from Mauritius)
I take in as my breath the sweet air that comes from you.
I witness your beauty every day.
I desire to hear your voice on the north wind each day
so the strength in my arms may be reborn with your love.
Call for me through eternity, and I will always be there.
– Egyptian love poem
O lady, be calm and cry not but sing to your suitors
Sing to those who guide you and to the discerning passers-by
Sing to the son of Shaka’s people, cast aside your grief and sorrow and distress
O lady be calm, let me give you gifts, fine clothes from our homeland the Hejaz
Let me adorn you with a chain and beads of gold devised in Shiraz
Let me build for you a great white house of lime and stone
Let me furnish it for you with furnishings of crystal,
So that those who see it will be astonished by its construction
Spread beneath with soft rushes from the lakesides of Shaka and Ozi
Let me satisfy your good parents and let them rest at ease with minstrels’ songs;
Let them lie at ease with food of the young of camels and of many oxen, sheep and goats
Because my lady, O lady mine, let me tell you that you are my beloved.
Let me tell you of my love so great that you may see it with your own eyes
Lift up your eyes and see, that everything may be plain to you
Every good thing will I do for you, by the goodness of Almighty God
By His goodness and compassion that shines brightly like the bright moonlight.
– Anonymous Kenyan author
To love you is like having a luscious fruit ripening in my hand,
Like having dates swimming in my honey wine.
The moment lingers.
The taste lasts.
We will remain joined until the end of years.
We will remain together in the endless line of hours.
We shall join together in this taste of bread and wine.
– Egyptian love poem
More African American Love Poetry
From Some Modern-Day Poets
My heart to thy heart, My hand to thine;
My lips to thy lips, Kisses are wine
Brewed for the lover in sunshine and shade;
Let me drink deep then, my African maid.
Lily to lily, Rose unto rose;
My love to thy love, Tenderly grows.
– “Song” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Deep, deep is the root
Deep in African soil
Like sweet nectar of a fruit
Long lean beauty still unspoiled
Like enrapturing uncut gems
Completely free of piercing thorns;
Grow your long sturdy uncut stems
Of which only an African sun adorns.
Appearing with a Zulu maiden’s pose
new, lovely, black,
African beauty rose.
– “African Beauty Rose” by Kattie M. Cumbo
I came to the crowd seeking friends
I came to the crowd seeking love
I came to the crowd for understanding
I found you
I came to the crowd to weep
I came to the crowd to laugh
You dried my tears
You shared my happiness
I went from the crowd seeking you
I went from the crowd seeking me
I went from the crowd forever
You came, too
– “You Came, Too” by Nikki Giovanni
Your hands in my hands, Happily meet
Your eyes and my eyes, Joyously greet
Your cheek ‘gainst my cheek, Passingly sweet
Your lips to my lips, Rapture complete
– “Poem #63” by Joseph S. Cotter Jr.
African American Love Poetry… Too Deep For You?
African American love poetry is deep. Check out some of these marriage proposal poems. If you’re anything like me you probably had to read some of these poems a couple of times to truly understand and appreciate the depth of what these poets were (or are) saying.
Poetry isn’t for everyone… You might consider just selecting a stanza or even just a line that stands out to you, one that is particularly meaningful to you and your relationship. Perhaps you do want some sort of poetic prose to incorporate but maybe not as deep and thought-provoking as some of the above… Check out some African quotes on marriage or some great marriage love quotes. If African American love poetry isn’t exactly your cup of tea, then these might just be what the “love doctor” ordered!
And if you’re still struggling, then you’ll really like some of the ideas I have for creative marriage proposals.
African American love poetry.