Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Generally I am not a huge fan of poetry.  Mostly I find it annoying; circling a subject, being way too subtle, and I find myself thinking just say what you're trying to say, already!

One exception to my general dislike of poetry is the poem How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

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 every day'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 the 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.

I am now reading the novel How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser, a biographical novel of Elizabeth Barrett's romance with fellow poet Robert Browning.

The year is 1845. After her brother dies in a sailing accident, the grief-stricken, sickly Elizabeth Barrett becomes a recluse. She is a published poet - but a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. She resigns herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives... "I love your verses with all my heart," writes Robert Browning, a fellow poet. As friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert's love is not for her words alone. Could it be that God might grant her more than mere existence? And can she risk defying her father in pursuit of happiness?

BEHIND THE STORY: The love story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning seems impossible—and it would have been, if God hadn't been involved. Over and over I was moved by evidence of Divine intervention. These two people needed each other so much that God went to great lengths to bring them together. They saved each other. It's truly an inspiring story. Also inspiring are the love sonnets Elizabeth wrote - for her eyes only.  As a bonus in this book, we have included the "Sonnets from the Portuguese" in the back of the book. Read them for yourself! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

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