le project d’amour: Literary Love

Hello again! This is Hila from le projet d’amour. When Jen asked me to do a guest post on the theme of “love”, my mind immediately gravitated toward some of my favourite love poems and quotes from novels. I’m always jolted by the moment when I happen to read an amazing string of words which remind me just how beautiful, complex and baffling love can be.

Although I find the task of narrowing down my favourite literary love quotes a bit difficult, these are a few that stand out:

The poppies are wild, they are only beautiful and tall
so long as you do not cut them,
they are like the feral cat who purrs and rubs against your leg
but will scratch you if you touch back.
Love is letting the world be half-tamed.

–Jennifer Grotz, Poppies.

She said there is a glow to love: she had actually seen it. It is like the entire sun coming to rest in the belly of a kneeling sheep. It is like a glint from the beads of an Italian necklace that hung at her mother’s throat. It is like two lovers flashing mirrors through space and time.
–Gail Jones, Sixty Lights.

Then I think of you in bed, your tongue half chocolate, half ocean, of the houses that you swing into, of the steel wool hair on your head, of your persistent hands and then how we gnaw at the barrier because we are two.
–Anne Sexton, Eighteen Days Without You.

My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath – a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff–he’s always, always in my mind – not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself – but, as my own being.
–Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
me, it was love for you that set me
and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
writhe and
bear the fruit of screaming.

–Frank O’Hara, For Grace, After a Party.

He couldn’t wait to know her when, in years to come, they would be solvent, sexually calmer, less like wildlife. There was always, he thought, this pleasure ahead of him, an ace of joy up his sleeve so he could say you can do anything to me, take everything away, put me in prison, but I will know Alice Gull when we are old.
-Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion.

Love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no. It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid.
–Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body.

And I’ll leave you to add to this list, what are some of your favourites?


CREDITS: 1. photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 2. still from the French short film Faiblesses (2009), 3. Tompkins Sq. Park, 4. still from À bout de souffle (1960), 5. an unknown couple, photographed by Elliot Erwitt (1955)


THANK YOU, HILA! Find Hila on her blog, le projet d’amour!

7 Responses to “le project d’amour: Literary Love”
  1. Glenda says:

    Jen, I discovered your blog today. I feel at peace when I read it. You have a wonderful talent for words. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

  2. What beautiful poems! I want to frame all of them. :)


  3. RetreatingAndAdvancing says:

    What beautiful quotes, thank you Hila!

  4. Monica says:

    wonderful excerpts hila!
    that wuthering heights one is a favourite.

  5. Jess says:

    I have been reading and re-reading these quotes for a while now and cant seem to stop. That’s what good writing makes you do, just sit and soak it all in:)

  6. caren says:

    “It is like two lovers flashing mirrors through space and time.” – ah, what a gorgeous visual! Thanks, Hila, for sharing so many lovely words with us. Makes me want to pick up a well-worn book and get lost for a while.

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