Love is such an overriding theme in art that it’s no surprise some of its most iconic figures created their best work because of it. Of course, musicians like Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix or famed writers Ernest Hemingway or John Keats have penned a long list of work that echoes the bliss of feeling enamored by someone; but a recent selection of the greatest love letters of all time should serve as a reminder of the fact that love truly can make poets of us all. Among the most surprising choices were world leaders like Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte and Gerald Ford, reported The Telegraph.
Along with entries like Jimi and Winston’s, Johnny’s letter reaches back to a certain simplicity about love often echoed in country music. Cash talks about his wife June Carter Cash with sparse language free of much metaphor. Johnny’s letter is a stripped-down list the daily joys of committed love.
“We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realise how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.”
On the opposite of the spectrum from Cash and Hendrix, the second highest voted love letter came from Churchill, written to his wife Clementine. As Winston was an Nobel Prize-winning author of non-fiction, the fact that Churchill was such an effective writer should come as no surprise. Winston’s letter again invokes such simple sentiments about love, but they are expressed with such an acute sincerity that his words become chilling.
“My darling Clemmie, in your letter from Madras you wrote some words very dear to me, about having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love.”
Another rather short letter also made an appearance on the list, though far removed from Cash’s country roots or Churchill’s political stature. Hendrix’s short letter to his daughter reminds readers that love need not be romantic to be stirring and inspirational.
“Happiness is within you. so unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow like the sweet flower you are… I know the answer-Just spread your wings and set yourself FREE”
Would you want Johnny Cash, Winston Churchill and Jimi Hendrix to pen your Valentine’s Day card?
[Photos via Hulton Archive, Fox Photos/Getty Images]