Tuesday, 5 June 2007

How do I Loathe thee? Let me count the ways…

Now, you probably won’t recall, but I mentioned recently that I knew ‘by heart’ another poem, (shorter than Keat’s Ode on Melancholy).

I warn you now I’m going to print it here and it’s exceptionally soppy.

It’s by Elizabeth Barrett Browning* from Sonnets from the Portuguese (probably about Robert Browning, her hubby; it’s not How Do I Love Thee?). If I recall correctly, she called it this because she knew the contents were rather soppy so pretended she was merely translating the poetry (perhaps I should label all future soppy posts ‘I blame the Portuguese’ – poor sods, what did they ever do to her?).

Really the collection is quite lovely though.

Anyway, I still love the romanticism of this sonnet; the feeling that someone’s your soul mate. Yet, I was commenting on someone’s post today about how bloody happy I am to be single. I found I felt quite strongly about it.

I’ve never lived on my own before the start of this year (well, technically I have, but never for more than a few months). I absolutely love it. So much so that I’m now a little concerned that I will never be able to live with a man ever again.

I have always cherished time on my own. In fact, when my mother would force other small children to come and play - for fear her Only Child would otherwise become socially inept - I would most often say, ‘Can they go home now?’ after about 15 minutes. She eventually gave up, poor dear.

The freedom of single life is marvellous. I cannot believe how much I’ve been missing out on being almost consistently in relationships! Is this why men would hold on to me so tightly, lest I become aware of the bliss of a life of solitude?

A life free of


unwanted groping (when trying to sleep),

lack of groping (when it would be of comfort),

strict rules on what music I can play and when, and then dealing with his irritation at too much silence (this is the most recent ‘Effort’ I’m referring to here, ‘How can you stand it so quiet!’ Hmm, maybe because I don’t have secret fears of my conscience surfacing in the silence…!).

Having to cook, or eat (they all have enjoyed cooking thank god), a proper meal every night – I’m more of a simple girl about these things… unless I’m at a nice restaurant of course (which Effort took me to ONCE only to point out the cost of it; note, this was for my birthday).

Having to pick up after him; wet towels on beds and floors, alongside stinking dirty shirts and jocks (and, re Effort, washing all his clothes, doing all the cleaning and never once thanked – and before you get the wrong idea I was supporting myself, in fact, kind-hearted soul that I am, I was always loaning him money).

Listening intently and lovingly to him rant on about his interests and ‘funny stories’ only to have him take no interest in what I said, and even to ask me not to speak of some things at all (such as my family, friends, me, general observations, my stories, my life, movies I like, places I’ve been, things I’ve read, ETC… And yet, he would complain about the silence??).

Well, *takes deep breath* I’ll stop now before I start on one of my regular bouts of banging my head against a brick wall – in fact, I’m realising it appears that I’ve gone out with my share of brick walls…

What I’m trying to say is: this living on your own gig is rather fine (Oh God!!!! The FREEDOM!!!!!!). So, I’m wondering, if I ever do find a man who’s worth the effort, will I be able to live with him? Mayhap I’ll convince him we’re best living separately. I don’t know. I’m sure to grow out of this eventually.** But it’s going to take a pretty important guy to have me make an effort again, I will tell you now, yessirree Bob, indeedy do.

Anyway, here’s the soppy sonnet of Lizzie’s:

(Warning all Pragmatic Cold-Hearted Realists, avert thine eyes!)

Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand

Henceforth in thy shadow. Nevermore

Alone upon the threshold of my door

Of individual life, I shall command

The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand

Serenely in the sunshine as before,

Without the sense of that which I forbore--

Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land

Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine

With pulses that beat double. What I do

And what I dream include thee, as the wine

Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue

God for myself, He hears that name of thine,

And sees within my eyes the tears of two.

[Fear not, this is quite likely not merely the first but indeed the last of my poetical offerings upon this blog. (Unless, of course, I inadvertently create a wondrous haiku.) And, I STILL don’t know any dirty limericks!]

* You may be not at all interested to note that an old coot once compared me to E.B.B. upon first meeting me. No, I look nothing like her, it was to do with the man I was seeing at the time with whom I had kind of ‘run off’ with, as E.B.B. did with R.B.. I met the dear old gent only once or twice but he gave me a tome of E.B.B. poems. I had already committed the above sonnet to memory. I am still impressed by his gesture.

** If I become a crazy cat lady I’ll let you know.