Andrea del Sarto by Robert Browning
I reread this poem on New Year’s Day 2013. I believe that I had not read it fully since high school, and it is amazing how different it feels to read it in my late 60’s compared to reading it as a teenager. “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” is a common quotation from the poem, and it was my intention to understand that phrase better though a better familiarity with its context. I often heard that phrase when young, with only vague understanding, The poem was written for an adult reader, yet I am grateful for having been exposed to it when still a callow youth.
I suggest that you read the poem and think about it yourself.
It is amazing poem that perfectly fit the mood that I was in on New Year’s Day and that relates to what I have been considering of late. I often find it helpful to try to express my thinking through writing, and my first Comment (“The three-legged stool”) is an attempt at expressing how I am reviewing/organizing/structuring my life at the moment.
p.s. Framed copies of two Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems (How do I love thee; If thou must love me.) hang in our bedroom with pressed leaves that a relative gathered from E.B.B.’s grave in Florence on Christmas Day, 1911. I gave them to Fran our first Christmas.