I've had just enough time... to tell how much I love thee -
Valentine Day is just round the corner and if you asked me to choose a love poem, it has to be this one that I recited ten years ago to the farmers who gathered in the town hall of the small Australian town of Morawa. It was a freezing summer morning and I shivered nervously as I stumbled my way up the stage to stare at the weathered faces of rough, tough Australian farmers and their wives. They were firing up these huge electrical lanterns to generate some heat which I desperately needed. After the brief introduction, the silence was nerve racking as I cleared my dry throat to speak.
I regretted my quirky sense of humour and romance but it was too late to back off. In the radio interview the day before which was aired that morning, some of these farmers had already heard some of the good as well as not so flattering views I said about their wheat as they drove their combine harvester before the crack of dawn. They then drove down with their family to hear what else I have to say. I was on a tour of 5 Australian farming towns and this is the first stop. I don’t remember much of the content of speech but I remembered opening it with – “How Do I Love Thee?” followed by the rest of the poem. I must be mad.
Last Valentine, I shared the occasion with Desiderata, see link here– Happy Valentine - Saying it with Orchids & Desired Things. This Valentine, let me share “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning with you accompanied by my orchids in light and shadows. Joined me for Part II for what happened after the conclusion of that speech in Morawa.
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 candlelight.
Check out Part II for the conclusion to the speech in Morawa and the rest of the "How Do I Love Thee?" poem on Valentine Day.