Thursday, April 11, 2013

How Do I Leave You? (Barrett Browning "Un-Loved")

How Do I Leave You? ( Barrett Browning "Un-Loved")
(NaPoWrMo, Day 10's Poem)

How do I leave you? Let me count the ways.
I leave you to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach – forever out of sight
For this be The End of Our Being; my ideal grace.
I leave you to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I leave you freely, as I strive for Right
I leave you purely, as I turn from Praise.
I leave you with a passion put to use
from our old griefs and childishness; I now forsake.
I leave you with a love I seem to lose
With my lost saints – I loved you with the breath
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I will but love you better after death.

© Julie Bartha-Vasquez, 2013
(But still giving all the credit to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Notes on the Poem:
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I completely crashed last night. So this is yesterday's poem, today. But I was thinking about it all day yesterday. Believe it or not, I went into this planning to write a parody of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous "Sonnet 43," better known to most people as the "How Do I Love Thee?" poem. The NaPoWriMo writing prompt yesterday was to write an "un-love" poem. And while writing it in my head, I was thinking it might be funny to write the poem as if it were a lost lyric from side one of Hole's "Live Through This" album. If mid-90s Courtney Love, "You Oughtta Know" Alanis Morrisette and "Before He Cheats" Carrie Underwood all got together to write a break-up poem, this would be it. At least, that was the plan.

But then I sat down this morning to actually write it. The parody could have been funny. I might still write it. But in the process of writing , I found that by just altering some of the words -- very few, if you go back and compare what I did to the original -- that altered Barrett Browning's ultimate love poem into a break-up poem full of heartache. 

So I decided to post this instead. It's not entirely (let's face it... it's barely) original. More like Altered Poetry, if that's even a legitimate form. (And if it's not, I just invented it.) It just felt right. --WNG

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