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Sonnets - the language of love?

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by : 
EllenBlogger

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s interesting to delve into the history of Europe and to look at where one of the most romantic traditions surrounding Valentine’s Day came from.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I just want you to know
I think the world of you.

These poems are great for declaring your love on Valentine’s Day. They are interchangeable and can be personalised to fit the person you love, be it a boyfriend or girlfriend, your mother, father, sister, brother or friend … But how did people declare their love in the 17th Century?

‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments …’

Funnily enough, the sonnet was the original love poem and it stems from the Italian word for ‘little song’. It originated in Italy in the 14th Century and was adopted by England, France and Spain in the 16th Century and then Germany in the 17th Century.

There are different kinds of sonnets; one such example is the Shakespearean sonnet, named after William Shakespeare, because he liked to use this particular type. Each sonnet has its own style and rhyme scheme.

This type of poetry flows beautifully and mimics the pattern of speech. In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, he talks about love and what it means to him. He says that true love is not easily altered, that it remains strong and does not fade with time, even if it is a hopeless love. He concludes the 14 lines by saying that he cannot possibly be wrong in his interpretation because he feels so strongly, that if the way he feels is not love, no man can ever possibly have loved anyone! 

Sonnets are nice, because they have multiple meanings and can be interpreted differently by each person who reads them. They reflect the different kinds of love and friendships encountered throughout life and reflect the personal nature of love itself.

Discussion

Do you have any special kinds of poetry for Valentine’s Day? How do people show their love in your country?

Comments

linhdan83's picture
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linhdan83 28 November, 2019 - 03:15

In my country (Vietnam), people are likely to send gifts, flowers, chocolates, cards, etc. or just simple that going out to eat or drink in a nice place. In Vietnam, people don't usually write poets or sing a song because they consider it is too embarrassing and they would like something more private.

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sang0110's picture
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sang0110 26 November, 2019 - 13:34

In Vietnam,people shy to directly show their love, but they usually express it by actions, letters or poems especially in north of vietnam.
(P/s: sorry for my english skill)

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_nguyenthanhtom's picture
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_nguyenthanhtom 26 November, 2019 - 09:14

many people are still too shy to express their love. Instead of expressing it directly, they will send their feelings into the poems. There was a poem that my older brother had written:
I have the “I”
I have the “L”
I have the “O”
I have the “V”
I have the “E”, …
so please can I have “U” ?

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kieunguyen_1076's picture
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kieunguyen_1076 24 November, 2019 - 15:54

Valentine's Day has been not uncommon in Viet Nam for many years. We have some poems for this day but most of them are edited by teenagers. In addition, numerous couples enjoy going together and have fun during this time. They go to somewhere to have dinner or relax, it is really happy.

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yennhi2k0's picture
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yennhi2k0 24 November, 2019 - 15:43

Many people feel shy to talk about the love story. I have never loved or crush anyone. I think this is so boring. However, I used to see my older brother write a love letter for his girlfriend. I don't remember the content of the letter. I only remember a short poem in this letter.
"If you said you were cold
I would wrap my arms around you
If you said you were thirsty
I would give you the ocean blue
I would give you anything: the moon, the stars the sunset too.
This heart in my hands I hold out to you."
I didn't learn English at the time so I didn't understand what he wrote, but now I understand that must be a lovely poem.

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haahaa0912's picture
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haahaa0912 17 November, 2019 - 10:04

Sending a sonnet to one's love is truly a graceful means of declaring love that interpretes your feeling through the romatic poem lines instead of normal words. In Vietnam, it used to be popular and favorite; however, it is about to be forgotten,especially among youngsters.

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havy230819's picture
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havy230819 13 November, 2019 - 15:41

In Vietnam, an Asian country, the love story is still something that people feel shy to talk about. I have never loved anyone, but my older sister does. I saw her writing on the corner of her desk two little poems:
"roses are red
violets are blue
no one could love you
more than I do "
"roses are red
violets are blue
maybe you didn't know
I used to love you "
I didn't learn English at the time so I didn't understand what she wrote, but now I understand that must be a sad love story.

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AyuNguyen's picture
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AyuNguyen 5 November, 2019 - 01:58

I'm not good at writing and I don't care much about Valentine's Day..uhm..so I don't have a special poem for this day. Probably, I'm not the type to be romantic. But I read some special poems about this day written by others. I really want to translate for the readers but I'm just afraid my words could not express the meaning, the beauty of the poem.
(´-﹏-` '' )
As far as I know and see, most people in my country often show love through gifts such as roses, jewelry, and so on. Accompanied by hugs, kisses, sweet wishes, ...('・ω・')

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kimthao_60nna2's picture
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kimthao_60nna2 21 October, 2019 - 17:27

I really like this topic. In this topic, through sonnets, I can read and feel the love and words of couples in love. So I don’t hesitate to find a short poem about love to share all people:
If love is a drop, I’ll send you showers;
If love is a petal, I’ll send you flowers;
If love is water, I’ll send you the sea;
If love is a person, I’ll send you me.

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empty's picture
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empty 30 June, 2019 - 09:07

This poem is Persian so I'll translate it in English . By the way , Its by me . :
look at the clock
The time is passing by
It won't stop for you
It just wants to run out
If you wasted your time
There's no way to bring it back
There's no time to bring it back
Take a closer look at the clock
seconds and passing
Minutes are passing
hours are passing
days are passing
and one day you'll realize
that your life is over
the most precious thing that you have
so make sure you don't waste it
TIME ISN'T GOING TO STOP . DON'T LOSE A SECOND .

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rosyclouds's picture
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rosyclouds 13 May, 2017 - 12:21

I've just leart about poems in English class! My teacher gave us several topics and ordered us to write a poem and I chose "what is love". Sonnet is hard for me so I wrote a list poem.
what is love
love is like violent eruption
love is continuous attention
love is the rainbow after the rain
love is the unexpected meeting on the train
love is the swear
love is the pain we share
love is a drop of dew
love is the time I am with you
Maybe some of the sentences are plain, but I try my best to rhyme them.

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Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 9 February, 2018 - 09:55

What a great lesson!
I like your poem which I've just found on this site!
They're hitting the nail on the head, and all in all, it seems to me that it is all the more precious!
It's hard to find anything (anyone) worthwhile in our short life, but if we discover, get going with no hesitation and with sincere affection! :)

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rosyclouds's picture
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rosyclouds 15 February, 2018 - 07:13

Thank you! I am delighted to receive your comment because I haven't logged in this website for a long time. It has been nearly a year since I wrote this poem. Love is never far away from us. And I really like your attitude towards life--grasp each chance to love and then there will not be any regret.
Now I am spending the Spring Festival with my family. I must say that your praise is the best gift I've received in the New Year! \(^o^)/

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Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 15 February, 2018 - 12:10

Hi rosyclouds,
Glad to hear from you! :)
Sorry, I've been spending time for a year without noticing your poem. Ha, I'm ditz (?) and slow at a snail's pale. =3
Anyway, I really like it!

Chūnjié kuàilè (Happy Spring Festival)
Xīnxiǎng shì chéng! (May all your wishes come true!)

Elsa007 ;)

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rosyclouds's picture
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rosyclouds 16 February, 2018 - 06:12

Hi Elsa007,
Wow! I like your blessings! You are really cute!
Actually, I often see your comments. And I really admire your thoughts about some phenomena.
Here I also offer my best wishes to you!
wàn shì shèng yì (It's very popular now!)
It means that everything goes smoothly and works better than you have imagined.

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Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 16 February, 2018 - 09:14

Thank you very mych for your encouragement <3
You’re such a positive person!
This year, I’ll try to discard things negative and be upbeat like you! :)

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rosyclouds's picture
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rosyclouds 19 May, 2017 - 13:38

Hi, hadia! I'm so glad that you approve of my poem!Maybe love is beyond any word, but we are still eager to express it using various metaphors and continue to pursuit it.

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hadia's picture
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hadia 20 May, 2017 - 08:28

So true. You really have a poetic heart and mind. Love is a pure, magical and royal feeling. I love yout name by the way, Rosyclouds. :))

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Luluzinha's picture
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Luluzinha 11 March, 2017 - 05:45

I don't know, but i love it. In my country the people use music whit sonnets. But i have no idea, because i never see in my life one declaring, so i'm sorry for this. I live in Brazil and my inglish is very simple so i hope you guys anderstand my mistakes xxxxx

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 11 March, 2017 - 14:06

Hi Luluzinha. Thanks for your comment and don't worry, you wrote well! Yes, it's true - music is another common way to express feelings. There are so many love songs and romantic songs. Do you have any favourite songs or singers?
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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hadia's picture
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hadia 17 February, 2017 - 13:22

I loved reading your article. I thought sonnets were 14 verses' poems but not that they were ''language of love".
I don't celebrate Valentine's day. But I have something to share.
Umm......last month I was reading a book. There were two supporting characters in the story and they confessed to each other in a cute way.
Basically, it's the story of a girl who fights for child abuse as she has gone through the same phase in her childhood. She goes to a Uni. and there she meets a group of people. They become friends. The group has three sophomores and four freshmen. Shay(one of the girls) likes this boy in their group. He is mostly quiet and don't pay others attention. Laila-the main girl- tries to explain shay that he isn't going to understand her feelings but Shay is persistent.
On Music Festival, as there's much crowd.....while the boy is singing song Shay sends a letter to him that says....
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
Someone from your group,
Loves YOU.

The boy opens it up and tries to look for his friends. He spots Laila, who gives him a smile. He misunderstands her as the sender. While doing Drama practice for the annual film festival , he tells Laila that he couldn't reciprocate her feelings, for he loves somebody else At first Laila's confused but then explain him that it's not she who sent her that message. She asks him about who he loves. He hesitantly tells her about Shay. Laila becomes so happy for their mutual feelings.
On the night of Film Festival, In a quite romantic way(which was absurd for him-the boy), Faris speaks in the mic and tells the audience that he wants to say something. He speaks up. And tells that although he's the Head of the Student Writing Club and Editor of University's Mag., he had to think for days to come up for answer. He then declares;
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I don't know,
But I feel the same too!

Roars and cheers from the audience fills the hall. He heads towards Shay and she beams with happiness.
-taken from the book "Don't Remind Me"

Ha ha. That was a lovely and quite interesting chapter in that book. I loved the small verses they dedicated to each other.
I just thought to share, :)

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 2 March, 2017 - 19:51

Hi Hadia,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article! I absolutely love sonnets-so much so that I've borrowed a book which has Shakespeares sonnets in Spanish, as well as English! 

I love your story - that's perfect and exactly what I was talking about! I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day either- I don't need one day of the year to tell my boyfriend that I love him and it has become so commercialised. I tend to stay away from the commercial aspect and make things - like a photo album. Do you have a similar celebration in Pakistan? 

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hadia's picture
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hadia 5 March, 2017 - 06:13

Wow Ellen!
That's a cool idea to make a photo album. I really liked it.
Hm... Well, here in Pakistan, mostly people don't celebrate Valentine's Day. There's no celebration at all. Perhaps, some teenagers celebrate it. Or some married couples would confess again to each other. :))
This time, I was quite surprised. Because when I went around for a ride with my Family (on Valentine's day-not for the day actually) I saw some shops that were decorated with red balloons, stuffed hearts.......you know, Valentine's theme. That's because, we are Muslims, and we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. But I guess many young teens would even do. Just for enjoyment.

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
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Jo - Coordinator 20 February, 2017 - 11:43

HI Hadia, thanks sharing that. It sounds like a good read with a sweet ending! Please could you let us know who the author is? Thanks and best wishes, Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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hadia's picture
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hadia 20 February, 2017 - 12:38

Hi Jo! Thanks.
I read it online and the the author was Esha. She used her pen name as @ShutupandCoffee. That's what I know. No more. :)

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