The veritable classic of short poems for Valentine's Day begins, "Roses are red, violets are blue." The poem has been rewritten many times, both romantically and humorously, and can be personalized for any lover.
Beyond the almost nursery rhyme poem, a classic poem like Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 43" from "Sonnets from the Portuguese," is short and romantic, perfect for Valentine's Day. The poem opens, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach," and is best suited for a serious romance.
For a more modern twist to send your crush, try Langston Hughes' "Harlem Sweeties," which describes in detail the beauty of a flirtatious girl in Harlem, with phrases like, "glow of the quince" and "honey-brown dream."
For Valentine's Day cynics, "Another Valentine" by Wendy Cope talks about the feeling of obligation on the holiday, "Today we are obliged to be romantic / And think of yet another valentine," though by the end romantic feelings are evident even among critics.
Other poems perfect for wooing a longtime love or an infatuation include "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" by Christopher Marlowe, "A Glimpse" by Walt Whitman and "I Wanna Be Yours" by John Cooper Clarke.