Right now I'm working on revisions for two novels, but I can't stop myself from thinking, what if?
What if is the question that nurtures a blossoming idea.
Ideas are bubbling up in my brain for the next novel I'll write. Finding an idea is easy for me, deciding which idea I want to put time and effort into is more difficult.
An old poem that I had memorized in my romantic youth has been calling to me. It's titled If thou must love me, let it be for nought, and it is one of the poems found in Sonnets from the Portuguese. Have you ever read it? It's quite lovely. Sonnets from the Portuguese is a collection of poems that Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote for her husband, Robert Browning.
Here are the words to the poem that is tripping through my mind:
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
"I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day"—
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.
This poem will just be a jumping-off point in my writing process, and it may never find its way into my novel. But it's important backstory for me and for my character. I can nearly see her face as she looks out a window on a stormy autumn morning. She's pensive, hopeful. A soft smile plays at the corners of her mouth while she watches rain strip colorful leaves from a black-trunked tree. She runs her hand through her short brown hair . . .
Do you have a favorite poem that speaks to you? What is it?