How Do I Love Thee?

(with apologies to Elizabeth Barret Browning)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee as the German loves his beer
Or the Irishman his drop of whiskey clear,
Or the Russian steeped in woozy vodka daze.
I love thee as a child loves dainty trays
Of cakes and candies, cookies, and, my dear,
I love thee as a traffic-cop who's near
A donut shop and sniffs the scent of glaze.
I love thee as a housewive loves the soaps,
Or as the fisher loves his catch of trout.
I love thee with the breadth and depth of hopes
That draws the birds in autumn to the south.
I love thee better than all kings and popes,
But I love thee better when thou shut'st thy mouth!

George Chadderdon © 2000