Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Attacked by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, photographed 1859 by Macaire Havre, engraving by T O Barlow 1871 - public domain, via Josette at Wikimedia Commons

A Diet of Lizzie

How have I loved you? Let me taste your ways:
First tender, fresh like chicken (I was chicken too
Until you made me answer!); sweet like cake;
And hot as chilli pepper, all in turn.
Then course on course of wedding-banquet, capped
With Extra Cheese and corn; and honeyed moons
And moons of sundaes, till our palates cloyed.
Next, bread and butter, beer and Ploughman’s years
And hot sweet tea like kisses, cockshut time,
And kisses too, like blood-flushed vintage wine.
And last: tough, gamy, strong as good jugged hare,
And salt and full of pepper – so I loved you best!
Now one more course, and here’s my heart to eat,
For there you go, served up as broken meats.

Oh, I could count our ways! – But who’s to care?
They all add up to Blot, now you’re not there.
My tongue is shrivelled and my lips are dry.
My eyes scooped out, or something there should cry.
Our feasting-days have come to one last crust –
I’ll taste you when it’s time to bite the dust.

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