How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
-By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) "Sonnets from the Portuguese"
Why remember this now, after all these years? I honestly don't know. It just seems to capture so completely how full is the love I feel for my husband. This poem expresses love as something quiet and humble, but by no means less important than some other loud or dramatic expression of love. It captures the feeling of love as being both earthly and heavenly, as constant as the human need for heat and light, and calmly, righteously, humbly, innocently, yet also passionately. Reading this poem now has made me realize that Love is a feeling that is both supremely personal and yet enormously universal.
Well played, Poetry 205. Well played.