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.
— From "How Do I Love Thee?" (Sonnet 43)
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
— From "Still I Rise"
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
— From "Lady Lazarus"
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear.
— From "Diving into the Wreck"
I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
— From "Variations on the Word Sleep"
Hope is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
— From "Hope is the thing with feathers"
I've stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it's rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.
— From "a song in the front yard"
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
— From "To My Dear and Loving Husband"