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Love Is: A Crowdsourced Valentine's Day Poem

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Instead of greeting cards and chocolates this Valentine's Day, poet Kwame Alexander has packaged up for you a poem inspired by kids' definitions of love.

Last month, NPR asked elementary and high school teachers to give the following prompt to their students: "Love is ... " Students then filled in the blank with a line or, in some cases, a whole poem. Teachers from around the country submitted what their students wrote; NPR received more than 2,000 entries.

Alexander read through them and created one big love poem.

"Kids finding their voice and lifting it up, for love," he tells NPR. "Nothing more powerful than that."

Happy Valentine's Day!

A Day Full of Hugs

Love is Flying to the moon when you see each other
That intricate Rubik's cube that takes light years to unravel
The missing piece that fulfills every puzzle.

Love is bad lo mein and Moana on a Wednesday night.
the feeling you get when you find the perfect series on Netflix.

Love is happiness
tiny puppy kisses
Sister hugs
the brother she misses

Love is flower
You are its seed
What is love if not naïve hearts set ablaze,
the flames of which gradually extinguish to finally expose the remains of what once was;
A make-belief connection.

Love is basically just an attraction you get so humans can repopulate.
Of course you love your parents,
they're the ones who created you, but what do you mean by that?
Do you love them for creating you, only to die?
Love Isn't Real
Love is fairy tale weddings and
happily ever after.

Love is unexplainable,
something you can't find
but it somehow finds you
the thing that makes you want to stay,
the smell of fresh daisies and laundry sheets.

Love is... something that 1st graders say "ewwww" to
Love is... something 2nd graders say "hmmmmm" to
Love is... something 3rd graders can't stop talking to each other about

Love is when your dog doesn't bite you
Love is raindrops caring for the plants.
Helping them to grow to great big trees.
Making a loving home for the creatures of the forest.
Dying only to give fertile soil for the plants to come.

Love is patient
Love is scary
Love is learning
Love is confusing

It's the Gathering together
Removing evil forces
Starting discourses
the comfortable silence shared
Love is an idea everyone should be allowed the right of in whichever way they chose,

Love is a game of chess, you'll never win until you make a move.
Love is saying sorry when I hate to be wrong.
Love is when even though you might not want to do it, you do it because you love your parents.

Love is accepting everyone no matter their beliefs. No matter what they look like.

Difficult, but not insurmountable;
Love is a mountain;
A journey not undertaken lightly;
A reward not gained easily.

Love is a song from Kendrick Lamar. That's it.

Love is a day full of hugs.
A safe place to stay, to be

Vince Pearson and Ashley Brown produced and edited this story for broadcast. Heidi Glenn adapted it for the Web.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.