Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sonnets from the Portuguese: XXI

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Say over again, and yet once over again,
That thou dost love me. Though the word repeated
Should seem a "cuckoo-song," as dost treat it,
Remember, never to the hill or plain,
Valley and wood, without her cuckoo-strain
Comes the fresh Spring in all her green completed.
Beloved, I, amid the darkness greeted
By a doubtful spirit-voice, in that doubt's pain
Cry, "Speak once more--thou lovest!" Who can fear
Too many stars, though each in heaven shall roll,
Too many flowers, though each shall crown the year?
Say thou dost love me, love me, love me--toll
The silver iterance!--only minding, Dear,
To love me also in silence with thy soul.

* * *

I have always been one of those people who has to have things repeated. Sometimes it is because I am silly and forgetful, and sometimes because I have so little faith. If my mother did not tell me, every time I speak with her, that she loves me, would I be able to believe that she still did?

Fortunately, either she understands that little foolishness of my heart, or she has suffered from it herself, because never do I call her without hearing those three little words -- I love you -- at least once. When I am at home, I hear them every day. The words, repeated and repeated, weave a blanket around me of peace and security: she does love me. Not only did she love me once, but she loves me now. In this exact moment, she loves me.

. . . And yet, I am not so foolish not to know she still loves me when she does not say it. It just makes it so much easier when she says it out loud.

1 comment:

Charlemagne said...

It's not foolishness. Parents, spouses, loved-ones, children, etc., have to be told that they are loved. Not only does it reassure the one being told that they are indeed loved, but it also reminds the one saying it that he does love this person, even when he (or she) doesn't feel that he (or she) does. If you can't bring yourself to say "I love you" to your loved ones, something is terribly wrong.