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.

This poem is in the public domain.

The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift, 
  The road is forlorn all day, 
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift, 
  And the hoof-prints vanish away. 
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
  Expend their bloom in vain. 
Come over the hills and far with me, 
  And be my love in the rain. 

The birds have less to say for themselves 
  In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves, 
  Although they are no less there: 
All song of the woods is crushed like some 
  Wild, easily shattered rose. 
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
  Where the boughs rain when it blows. 

There is the gale to urge behind 
  And bruit our singing down, 
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind 
  From which to gather your gown.    
What matter if we go clear to the west, 
  And come not through dry-shod? 
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast 
  The rain-fresh goldenrod. 

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells   
  But it seems like the sea’s return 
To the ancient lands where it left the shells 
  Before the age of the fern; 
And it seems like the time when after doubt 
  Our love came back amain.      
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout 
  And be my love in the rain.

This poem is in the public domain.

translated from the Japanese by Jeffrey Angles

I am a boy, having never known love, 
Who has suddenly fallen from the summit  
Of frightening infancy into the darkness of a well 
Dark, watery hands choke my delicate neck 
Innumerable needles of cold push into me, 
Killing my heart, wet as a fish 
Inside, each organ swells like a flower 
As I move horizontally below the earth 
Along the surface of the water  
Eventually, from the green horn in my groin 
A sprout, unreliable and delicate, will grow 
Clawing up the heavy soil with thin hands 
One day, like a pallid face, 
Its tree will rustle under the painful light 
For I desire as much space inside me  
For light as space for shadow





ぼくは 愛も知らず
怖ろしい幼年時代の頂きから 突然
くらい水の手が ぼくのひよわなのどをしめ
つめたさの無数の雛が 押し入って来ては
ぼくの 魚のように濡れた心臓をあやめる
ぼくは すべての内臓で 花のようにふくれ
地下水の表面を 水平にうごいていく
ぼくの股の青くさいつのからは やがて
たよりない芽が生え 重苦しい土を
かぼそい手で 這いのぼっていくだろう 
ぼくは 影の部分と同じほど
ぼくの中に 光の部分がほしいのだ

Copyright © 2024 by Mutsuo Takahashi and Jeffrey Angles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 19, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.