How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love you when I stop the things I do
To hear you out when you are down and blue
And lend a hand whate’r the time and place.
I love you when I wash the glasses, plates
And do my share of our daily chores
I love you simply when I open doors
And plainly too as we hold hands on dates.
I love you with little fuss and fanfare
Less pomp and gesture that is grand will come
I love you with simplicity that’s bare
Which does not need the sweetest words to say,
In little things I tell you that I care
I love you not fore’r, but everyday.
Below is the model for the poem above, “How Do I Love Thee,” to which mine is my riposte, my call for an earthier, everyday kind of love, that Alain de Botton echoes in his article, How Fiction Ruined Love. Mine is not as sublime and elegantly written as Elizabeth Barrett Brownings, but that is partly and precisely the point. Love is less about the grand gestures than about daily routines. Though truth be told, my disclaimer also an excuse that masks my inabilty to write something as elevated and masterly.
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.