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.
–Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I’ve always liked that line. “I love thee with a love I seemed to lose/With my lost saints.”
I’m not a sonnet writer…
I’m the dog who follows you across the country
Half-blind, lame in one leg, deaf as a post, old, and smelly–
barking suspiciously at strangers when I wake up in a strange place
and mistake it for home.
I’m the cat who head-butts you in your sleep,
yowling with affection as you toss me out the door.
I’m the small child bringing you scraps of paper upon which
I have written the message “flrglop” with devotion.
I’m the sound of pans banging around the kitchen on a Saturday morning.
I’m the fingers that disarrange your beard when you let it grow too long.
I’m the the smell of bacon when you’re on a diet.
Like it or not, well, I love you.