National Poetry Month: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I’m thinking about love this morning. I’m not thinking about romantic love or platonic love but self love. It’s been said time and time again that, before we can love another person and really be content with our life, we have to love ourselves.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a sonnet that is probably one of the better known love poems. Well, at least the beginning of it is well known. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways?”

This morning, a dreary rain soaked morning in metropolitan Detroit, I dare you to ask the question of yourself. I dare you to look in the mirror and notice the things you love about yourself rather than your flaws.

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) — 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.

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