Saturday, July 26, 2008

Poem of the Day

A Man's Requirements
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I
Love me Sweet, with all thou art,
Feeling, thinking, seeing;
Love me in the lightest part,
Love me in full being.

II
Love me with thine open youth
In its frank surrender;
With the vowing of thy mouth,
With its silence tender.

III
Love me with thine azure eyes,
Made for earnest grantings;
Taking colour from the skies,
Can Heaven's truth be wanting?

IV
Love me with their lids, that fall
Snow-like at first meeting;
Love me with thine heart, that all
Neighbours then see beating.

V
Love me with thine hand stretched out
Freely -- open-minded:
Love me with thy loitering foot, --
Hearing one behind it.

VI
Love me with thy voice, that turns
Sudden faint above me;
Love me with thy blush that burns
When I murmur 'Love me!'

VII
Love me with thy thinking soul,
Break it to love-sighing;
Love me with thy thoughts that roll
On through living -- dying.

VIII
Love me in thy gorgeous airs,
When the world has crowned thee;
Love me, kneeling at thy prayers,
With the angels round thee.

IX
Love me pure, as muses do,
Up the woodlands shady:
Love me gaily, fast and true,
As a winsome lady.

X
Through all hopes that keep us brave,
Farther off or nigher,
Love me for the house and grave,
And for something higher.

XI
Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear,
Woman's love no fable,
I will love thee -- half a year --
As a man is able.


I'm curious about other's reaction to this poem. Stephen thought it should have ended after the 10th stanza, while I laughed heartily at the unexpected end. Despite, or possibly because of the title, I read parts of it as impossible, intimate longing to the point of being uncomfortable. The end may have relieved my discomfort. He just thought the poem was ruined by her bitterness.

Most beautiful idea: "Love me with thy thinking soul".

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