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
What a lovely gift. Absolutely perfect for you. Favorite poem? “Stopping by Woods on Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost most likely.
I expected you to choose that Frost poem. I believe you blogged about it once, right?
MomCraves introduced me to poetry through Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot. Introduced to William Shakespeare in high school. I am a fan of Edgar Allen Poe. Then there is Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, Thoreau. As a child Shel Silverstein, Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain. Alice in Wonderland is still a favorite – thanks Lewis Carroll. I enjoyed Herman Melville’s Moby Dick while in college. When I lived out west I got interested in John Muir. You can say I love the written word and the adventures you can go on in reading 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!
Thanks for sharing your lengthy list of favorite poets. One of my favorites, Emily Dickinson, is on there.
I’ve always loved the poetry of Chilean Pablo Neruda. Incredibly beautiful and romantic. I even have a cd with his poems read on it. I also love Walt Whitman. He has a good connection to nature that I like.
One of favorite poems though is not flowery or romantic but practical and straight to the poem. It is a haiku by an 17th century poet and samurai Masahide.
“Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon.”
Simple and straightforward, I think of this often when I face disappointment and choose to look for the positive and move forward.
Kiandra, thank you for sharing your favorite poets and that haiku. I need to write that down and post it on my desk for exactly those times you state.
I love all Billy Collins’s poems. Your literary gift is such a thoughtful gesture from your friend.She knew how much you’d appreciate it. .
Great poet choice.
My dad’s mother loved poetry, and I took her collection of books home with me years ago. I read through a couple of them, but never had time to look at the rest. Recently, Forrest’s mother passed and there are hundreds (perhaps a couple thousand) books to go through. I found several old books that belonged to his grandmother and great-grandparents that were of poetry. I often wonder if there will come a time when I have time to sit and enjoy them. For now, they will be dusted off and taken better care of than they have in the last forty years or more!
I am sorry about the passing of your mother-in-law.
That you value those poetry and other books does not surprise me. I hope, too, that some day you will find time to sit down and read some of those books.