HOW DO I LOVE THEE? Let me count the ways.
Those introductory words to sonnet number 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning imprinted upon many a heart, mine included. Not that I can recite the poem. But I remember that first love line and the two lines that follow.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My Soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.
Ah, how I appreciate lyrical love poems. Words with depth penned from the soul.
And how I appreciate those who embrace poetry. Like my friend Barb. She recently gifted me with a 1967 Hallmark Editions volume of Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Treasured Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It’s a beautiful vintage collection of Browning’s love poems written between 1845-1846 and published in 1850. The British poet wrote the sonnets before her marriage to Robert Browning, a union disapproved of by her father. The couple secretly married in 1846.
I won’t pretend to understand everything Browning writes. If I chose to study her works, I would gain that depth of understanding. But I’m OK with simply reading and interpreting on my own.
My delight in unexpectedly receiving this 52-year-old slim collection reaches beyond words. The book is a work of art with poems printed in Garamond typeface on Hallmark Eggshell Book paper and with several illustrations interspersed therein. The covers, too, are lovely in a muted sage. To hold and page through this book is to hold creativity.
I feel intentionally and richly blessed when friends like Barb understand how I value the literary and visual arts. Barb knew this collection of Browning’s writing would hold meaning for me as a poet, as a creative. Especially during April, National Poetry Month.
TELL ME: Do you have a favorite poet or poem?
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling