my darling

poem: If thou must love me

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
`I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

This is probably narcissism or cheap self-promotion, but coming across this reminded me of a poem I wrote ages ago--which also reminds me that I'd really like to get back into writing poetry more frequently, somehow. Maybe not a poem every day, but weekly ought to be doable. Hm. Maybe after November's writing project is finished.

Not with thy lips--no, love me not with them:
for words too easily may be exchanged;
nor with thy eyes, for my form will alter,
blur, be not what now it is: beauty flees.
If thou wilt love, love with thy hands and feet--
touch me gently when I hurt, lift me up
when legs shall fail me. Love with thy blind heart,
that sees what's hidden by long years' decay.
When I am old, with bones weary and mind
nearly spent, when speech slurs and eyes grow dim,
when neither failing hand nor foot obeys--
love me then, and such love must sure be true.

What is love, but hard choice of constancy?
Let all else change, but ever I'll choose thee.
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