Pretty quoted Poe – that was a shocker


Once upon a time long ago and far away – but not too far away – I was in hot pursuit of Pretty who was clearly out of my lesbian league. In an attempt to impress her with my heat by being ultra cool, I recited love poems to her including one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s most famous Sonnets from the Portuguese. You know the one. How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

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 candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Who could resist such a passionate declaration of undying love, I thought, and who wouldn’t be impressed by someone who quoted poetry with no prompts.

I was stunned the night I professed Browning’s promises to Pretty who didn’t miss a beat before responding with Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—

And, then, of course Pretty went on for the entire six stanzas, three with six lines, one with seven lines and two with eight. My sonnet looked weak by comparison. Sigh. Pretty was definitely out of my league.

She still is, but miraculously twenty years later How Do I Love Thee was enough.

**********************

Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.


About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Nana to her granddaughter Ella James born 10-01-2019. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Pretty quoted Poe – that was a shocker

  1. Thoroughly charming.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    It’s almost as if she was waiting for you. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

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