We’re a month away from Valentine’s Day, but it’s never too early to share some of the most beautiful love poetry ever written. Admittedly, the love poem I quote the most is Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116” followed closely by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnet 43,” and who can speak of love poetry without noting that profound 27th part of Tennyson’s “In Memoriam A. H. H.” – ‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all. Rather than link them all here, I will endeavor to add them throughout the year or bundle them for Valentine’s Day itself. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from rushing over to Poetry Foundation right now and binging on all three!
Today, however, I turn my eyes to something more contemporary, a poem by e. e. cummings. I don’t remember how I first came upon the poem, but when I did, I knew cummings understood my heart. The photograph above was taken by a good friend of ours right after our youngest son was born in our living room. What a miracle and memory! I have since seen the poem quoted on a large poster hanging on a local establishment in memory of their lost loved one. This is the true expression and bounty of deepening love, something that love at first sight and infatuation will never touch. One cannot truly say, “(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud / and the sky of the sky of a tree called life” who has not known the wonderful weathering of the years. If you’re still young in the journey of love, take heart. Eventually, you too will be able to truly know that of which cummings speaks.
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
e. e. cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) Source: Complete Poems: 1904-1962 (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1991)