Poetry Corner: The LOOOOOVE Edition

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day, blogosphere! I hope it's treating you well. I don't actually get to see The Husband hardly at all today - last day working an evening shift at the old stressful job. However, I thought I'd leave you all with some love poetry, whether or not you have someone special with you today.

I've been reading Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. My Kindle edition of it is absolutely appalling - no line breaks whatsoever. But I'm a cheapskate. And the words are stunning. So first, a love poem for someone who is in love...

Indeed this very love which is my boast,
And which, when rising up from breast to brow,
Doth crown me with a ruby large enow
To draw men's eyes and prove the inner cost, --
This love even, all my worth, to the uttermost,
I should not love withal, unless that thou
Hadst set me an example, shown me how,
When first thine earnest eyes with mine were crossed,
And love called love.
And thus, I cannot speak
Of love even, as a good thing of my own:
Thy soul hath snatched up mine all faint and weak,
And placed it by thee on a golden throne, --
And that I love (O soul, we must be meek!)
Is by thee only, whom I love alone

Oh, I love this. I love that image of her love snatching up her faint, weakened soul and placing it beside him on a golden throne because so often I feel like that is what my love did with me. I had gone through so many bad relationships, while my good friend let me cry on his shoulder, and then when I was ready showed me what love really was.

Ok, ok, the gagfest is over. I have one more sonnet I love for those not in love who do not want to be, whether because their hearts are already broken ore because they are just not interested. This is my favorite poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

What can I give thee back, O liberal
And princely giver, who has brought the gold
And purple of thine heart, unstained, untold,
And laid them on the outside of the wall
For such as I to take or leave withal,
In unexpected largesse? am I cold,
Ungrateful, that for these most manifold High gifts,
I render nothing back at all?
Not so; not cold, -- but very poor instead.
Ask God who knows. For frequent tears have run
The colours from my life, and left so dead
And pale a stuff, it were not fitly done
To give the same as pillow to they head.
Go farther, let it serve to trample on.

This poem is so heartbreaking to me, both on behalf of the narrator and the rejected lover. He wants to offer her the world, "the gold and purple of [his] heart," and it is left in the cold. She sees how wonderful his offer is, but is so jaded and scarred that she won't accept it. It's poignancy makes it romantic even though the actual romance is being rejected.

That's all for today! Happy love day. :)


  1. very nice! took me a bit to understand them but your little excerpts helped! i just wrote a poem for Todd for Valentine's Day! it was cute and funny! miss you!

  2. That's awesome Jolyn, I'll bet he loved it. :) I miss you too, let's get together soon! Before you guys move to Texas.


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