07 April 2013

April is NPM: Christina Rossetti

Like Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti is one of my favorite poets.  She had some interaction with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood through her brothers and she was even engaged to a member for some time.  However, she was devoutly Anglican and broke the engagement when her fiancĂ©e converted to Catholicism (she also later refused an engagement on the grounds the man wasn't a Christian).  Although much of her poetry is religious or devotional in nature, she also wrote on the frustration and renunciation of love.  She also wrote children's songs and what is most-likely her most famous work, Goblin Market (I wrote a term paper comparing the imagery in Goblin Market to opiate addiction).

But for today, I'm going to focus on promises.  When reading "Promises like Piecrust" the nature of the promises can slant from romantic to platonic.  But at heart, make me no promises because they will eventually crumble like pie-crust.

Promise me no promises,
So will I not promise you;
Keep we both our liberties,
Never false and never true:
Let us hold the die uncast,
Free to come as free to go;
For I cannot know your past,
And of mine what can you know?
You, so warm, may once have been
Warmer towards another one;
I, so cold, may once have seen
Sunlight, once have felt the sun:
Who shall show us if it was
Thus indeed in time of old?
Fades the image from the glass
And the fortune is not told.
If you promised, you might grieve
For lost liberty again;
If I promised, I believe
I should fret to break the chain:
Let us be the friends we were,
Nothing more but nothing less;
Many thrive on frugal fare
Who would perish of excess.
For added fun, look up the song "Promises like Piecrust" sung by Carla Bruni (yes, that Carla Bruni) on her album No Promises

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