My Special Guest tonight is…

Elizabeth Barrett Browing and A Man’s Requirements

I do consider myself a fair man when it comes to the opposite sex; most of the time, which is the very reason why I chose this poem. I don’t assume to know the meaning of it particularly because of the era it was written. Today though, I think any woman writing this may very well be sticking two fingers up to men. And good on them I say!

Its the last verse that gives it away. You can almost hear the sarcastic undertone as she’s writing. It could be the prelude to a ‘I want a divorce dear’; sweet.

Then again it maybe that Elizabeth was trying to tell her husband something as it is said that during the years of her marriage to Robert Browning, her literary reputation far surpassed that of her poet-husband. When visitors came to their home she was always the greater attraction.

Regardless of any meaning though I hope you enjoy.

A Man’s Requirements

Love me Sweet, with all thou art,

Feeling, thinking, seeing;

Love me in the lightest part,

Love me in full being.

 

Love me with thine open youth

In its frank surrender;

With the vowing of thy mouth,

With its silence tender.

 

Love me with thine azure eyes,

Made for earnest granting;

Taking colour from the skies,

Can Heaven’s truth be wanting?

 

Love me with their lids, that fall

Snow-like at first meeting;

Love me with thine heart, that all

Neighbours then see beating.

 

Love me with thine hand stretched out

Freely—open-minded:

Love me with thy loitering foot,—

Hearing one behind it.

 

Love me with thy voice, that turns

Sudden faint above me;

Love me with thy blush that burns

When I murmur Love me!

 

Love me with thy thinking soul,

Break it to love-sighing;

Love me with thy thoughts that roll

On through living—dying.

 

Love me when in thy gorgeous airs,

When the world has crowned thee;

Love me, kneeling at thy prayers,

With the angels round thee.

 

Love me pure, as musers do,

Up the woodlands shady:

Love me gaily, fast and true

As a winsome lady.

 

Through all hopes that keep us brave,

Farther off or nigher,

Love me for the house and grave,

And for something higher.

 

Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear,

Woman’s love no fable.

I will love thee—half a year—

As a man is able.

 

 

 

 

My Special Guest tonight is…

Helen Hunt Jackson and New Year’s Morning

Mrs Jackson was born in 1830 in Massachusetts. An American poet and writer, she became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the United States government.

The first book wrote and published under her own name was called ‘A Century of Dishonor’, condemning state and federal Indian policies. She recounted a history of broken treaties and called for significant reform in government policy towards them.

As this is my first guest appearance of the New Year it had to of course be New Year related, so during my search, which I must say seemed difficult, I found this lovely verse. It says a lot about out with the old and in with the new.

New Year’s Morning

Only a night from old to new!
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year’s heart all weary grew,
But said: The New Year rest has brought.”
The Old Year’s hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but trusting, said:
“The blossoms of the New Year’s crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead.”
The Old Year’s heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: “I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year’s generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all y failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet pace where I leave strife.”

Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.

Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year’s morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old coem true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.