Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Love's Language - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

How does Love speak?
In the faint flush upon the tell-tale cheek,
And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
The quivering lid of an averted eye –
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh –
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
While new emotions, like strange barques, make
Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
Still as the dawn, and with the dawn’s swift force –
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the avoidance of that which we seek –
The sudden silence and reserve when near –
The eye that glistens with an unshed tear –
The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
As the alarmed heart leaps in the breast,
And knows, and names, the greets its god-like guest –
Thus doth Love speak.

How doth Love speak?
In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek –
The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
And unnamed light that floods the world with splendour,
In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
In all things to one beloved face;
In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
In looks and lips that can no more dissemble –
Thus doth Love speak.

How doth Love speak?
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed to silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in convulsive rapture of a kiss –
Thus doth Love speak.


Comments about Love's Language by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • (9/6/2018 2:36:00 AM)


    The first four stanzas don't do much for me. There are some lines that I think are really strong, but most don't interest me.

    But that last stanza is vivid and visceral. The pacing is so interesting, with a wonderful balance of long and short phrases, and sentences that begin or end in unusual places. But it's the language there that really gets to me. In the convulsive rapture of a kiss. So intense!
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/27/2015 9:31:00 AM)


    This poem is so gay i have cancer. Kill yourself (Report) Reply

  • (4/15/2006 4:07:00 PM)


    sorry, but i got bored after the first stanza and didn't read on even though i tried. (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: silence, kiss, smile, fire, fear, joy, love, heart, light, god, world



Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 31, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]