The Poetry Lesson I Learned From Joe’s Passing

I love poetry and once Joe passed I finally understood a poem I read numerous times during high school.

It is a classic.

“Sonnets from the Portuguese”      

XLIII. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)


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 everyday’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 a 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.

During high school I would read it and think “That’s nice.”  Then the poem got put on the back burner and real life took over.  Rarely thought about it as I went through life, except maybe if it was an answer on Jeopardy.

Now I get it. I understand and agree with it.

Hopefully you “get it” and live out the love Elizabeth felt when she wrote this poem before the one you love, “to the depth and breadth and height” your soul can reach, moves to heaven.

Coming Next Week:  How 5 Years of  Widowhood Have Changed Me.