I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You


Sonnet LXVI: I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

-Pablo Neruda
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
Read rest of poem at All Poetry
Read Hannah DesChamp’s letter to Pablo Neruda about this poem.  It won an honor award in the Library of Congress Letters About Literature contest, 2015. 
An excerpt from the letter:
As a kid, everyone has confused feelings towards their family. My feelings towards my family are complicated and sometimes terrible. I have always felt isolated and guilty about my relationship with my mom and dad, until I came across your poem, “I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You”.
Read more poems by Pablo Neruda 

Library of Congress “Letters About Literature” Contest for Grades 4-12


Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. If you are in grades 4-12, you are eligible to enter the Letters About Literature reading and writing contest.

Read more information about the Letters About Literature Contest here.
December 4: Level 3 (Grades 9-12)
January 11: Level 1 (Grades 4-6) and Level 2 (Grades 7-8)


& here’s the poem that inspired Aidan Kingwell, the 2015 National Winner, Grades 9-12:

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

Here’s an excerpt from Kingwell’s letter:

When Death Comes, Mary – and it will – I want to face it as an equal, and shake its hand as a friend, and accept it as an eventuality. You taught me that that is the only proper way to die. With your words you taught me that life cannot be lived in the shadow of death – that life must be a thing separate from death. And you taught me that when death comes, I should embrace it, but also that I should not welcome it before its time. You taught me, Mary, that there was nothing to be feared in death so long as my life was one well-lived.

Read rest of Kingwell’s letter here 

Read more poems by Mary Oliver here