A Lover’s Posy

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If you’ve been reading this blog awhile than you may remember I came home from a writing residency at the Mailer Colony to find piles of really fun packages and mail. One of them was a nice birthday surprise—a card and book of love poetry from Nathan’s Mom.

I was not only touched that she thought of me, but also touched by the significance in some of the poems inside A Lover’s Posy. One was the famous Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a favorite of my late father’s:

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.

The other was a sonnet by William Shakespeare, one I had read at a friend’s wedding back in 1999:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

It this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

There’s always something magical about receiving an unexpected gift; there’s something even more magical when it has a deeper significance about which the giver was unaware.

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