39 Poems by Sara Teasdale 1884-1933
01. The Love that Goes A-begging (from Sonnets to Duse, 1907)
Oh Loves there are that enter in,
And Loves there are that wait,
And Loves that sit a-weeping
Whose joy will come too late.
For some there be that ope their doors,
And some there be that close,
And Love must go a-begging,
But whither, no one knows.
02. Wishes (from Sonnets to Duse, 1907)
I wish for such a lot of things
That never will come true--
And yet I want them all so much
I think they might, don't you?
I want a little kitty-cat
That's soft and tame and sweet,
And every day I watch and hope
I'll find one in the street.
But nursie says, "Come, walk along,
"Don't stand and stare like that"--
I'm only looking hard and hard
To try to find my cat.
And then I want a blue balloon
That tries to fly away,
I thought if I wished hard enough
That it would come some day.
One time when I was in the park
I knew that it would be
Beside the big old clock at home
A-waiting there for me--
And soon as we got home again,
I hurried thro' the hall,
And looked beside the big old clock--
It wasn't there at all.
I think I'll never wish again--
But then, what shall I do?
The wishes are a lot of fun
Altho' they don't come true.
03. Dusk in Autumn (from Sonnets to Duse, 1907)
The moon is like a scimitar,
A little silver scimitar,
A-drifting down the sky.
And near beside it is a star,
A timid twinkling golden star,
That watches like an eye.
And thro' the nursery window-pane
The witches have a fire again,
Just like the ones we make,--
And now I know they're having tea,
I wish they'd give a cup to me,
With witches' currant cake.
04. Dream Song (from Sonnets to Duse, 1907)
I plucked a snow-drop in the spring,
And in my hand too closely pressed;
The warmth had hurt the tender thing,
I grieved to see it withering.
I gave my love a poppy red,
And laid it on her snow-cold breast;
But poppies need a warmer bed,
We wept to find the flower was dead.
05. Faults (from Sonnets to Duse, 1907)
They came to tell your faults to me,
They named them over one by one,
I laughed aloud when they were done;
I knew them all so well before,--
Oh they were blind, too blind to see
Your faults had made me love you more.
06. Snow Song (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
Fairy snow, fairy snow,
Blowing, blowing everywhere,
Would that I
Too, could fly
Lightly, lightly through the air.
07. November (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
The world is tired, the year is old,
The little leaves are glad to die,
The wind goes shivering with cold
Among the rushes dry.
08. A Winter Night (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
My window-pane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold to-night,
The moon is cruel and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.
God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro.
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.
09. Dawn (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
The greenish sky glows up in misty reds,
The purple shadows turn to brick and stone,
The dreams wear thin, men turn upon their beds,
And hear the milk-cart jangle by alone.
10. Dusk (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
The city's street, a roaring blackened stream
Walled in by granite, thro' whose thousand eyes
A thousand yellow lights begin to gleam,
And over all the pale untroubled skies.
11. Rain at Night (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
The street-lamps shine in a yellow line
Down the splashy, gleaming street,
And the rain is heard now loud now blurred
By the tread of homing feet.
12. A Ballad of Two Knights (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
Two knights rode forth at early dawn
A-seeking maids to wed,
Said one, "My lady must be fair,
With gold hair on her head."
Then spake the other knight-at-arms:
"I care not for her face,
But she I love must be a dove
For purity and grace."
13. The Faery Forest (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
The faery forest glimmered
Beneath an ivory moon,
The silver grasses shimmered
Against a faery tune.
Beneath the silken silence
The crystal branches slept,
And dreaming thro' the dew-fall
The cold white blossoms wept.
14. A Minuet of Mozart's (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
Across the dimly lighted room
The violin drew wefts of sound,
Airily they wove and wound
And glimmered gold against the gloom.
I watched the music turn to light,
But at the pausing of the bow,
The web was broken and the glow
Was drowned within the wave of night.
15. Twilight (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
Dreamily over the roofs
The cold spring rain is falling,
Out in the lonely tree
A bird is calling, calling.
Slowly over the earth
The wings of night are falling;
My heart like the bird in the tree
Is calling, calling, calling.
16. Grandfather's Love (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
They said he sent his love to me,
They wouldn't put it in my hand,
And when I asked them where it was
They said I couldn't understand.
I thought they must have hidden it,
I hunted for it all the day,
And when I told them so at night
They smiled and turned their heads away.
They say that love is something kind,
That I can never see or touch.
I wish he'd sent me something else,
I like his cough-drops twice as much.
17. The Kind Moon (from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911)
I think the moon is very kind
To take such trouble just for me.
He came along with me from home
To keep me company.
He went as fast as I could run;
I wonder how he crossed the sky?
I'm sure he hasn't legs and feet
Or any wings to fly.
Yet here he is above their roof;
Perhaps he thinks it isn't right
For me to go so far alone,
Tho' mother said I might.
18. Spring Night (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
The park is filled with night and fog,
The veils are drawn about the world,
The drowsy lights along the paths
Are dim and pearled.
Gold and gleaming the empty streets,
Gold and gleaming the misty lake,
The mirrored lights like sunken swords,
Glimmer and shake.
Oh, is it not enough to be
Here with this beauty over me?
My throat should ache with praise, and I
Should kneel in joy beneath the sky.
Oh, beauty are you not enough?
19. April (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
The roofs are shining from the rain,
The sparrows twitter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.
Yet the back yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree-
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.
20. A Winter Blue Jay (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced,
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue.
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstasy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstasy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstasy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
There, on the black bough of a snow flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?
21. In the Train (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
Fields beneath a quilt of snow
From which the rocks and stubble sleep,
And in the west a shy white star
That shivers as it wakes from deep.
The restless rumble of the train,
The drowsy people in the car,
Steel blue twilight in the world,
And in my heart a timid star.
22. Morning (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
I went out on an April morning
All alone, for my heart was high,
I was a child of the shining meadow,
I was a sister of the sky.
There in the windy flood of morning
Longing lifted its weight from me,
Lost as a sob in the midst of cheering,
Swept as a sea-bird out to sea.
23. May Night (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.
Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring.
24. Dusk in June (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.
The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,
Oh let me like the birds
Sing before night.
25. The Sea Wind (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
I am a pool in a peaceful place,
I greet the great sky face to face,
I know the stars and the stately moon
And the wind that runs with rippling shoon
But why does it always bring to me
The far-off, beautiful sound of the sea?
The marsh-grass weaves me a wall of green,
But the wind comes whispering in between,
In the dead of night when the sky is deep
The wind comes waking me out of sleep
Why does it always bring to me
The far-off, terrible call of the sea?
26. The Cloud (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
I am a cloud in the heaven's height,
The stars are lit for my delight,
Tireless and changeful, swift and free,
I cast my shadow on hill and sea
But why do the pines on the mountain's crest
Call to me always, "Rest, rest"?
I throw my mantle over the moon
And I blind the sun on his throne at noon,
Nothing can tame me, nothing can bind,
I am a child of the heartless wind
But oh the pines on the mountain's crest
Whispering always, "Rest, rest."
27. The Star (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
A white star born in the evening glow
Looked to the round green world below,
And saw a pool in a wooded place
That held like a jewel her mirrored face.
She said to the pool: "Oh, wondrous deep,
I love you, I give you my light to keep.
Oh, more profound than the moving sea
That never has shown myself to me!
Oh, fathomless as the sky is far,
Hold forever your tremulous star!"
But out of the woods as night grew cool
A brown pig came to the little pool;
It grunted and splashed and waded in
And the deepest place but reached its chin.
The water gurgled with tender glee
And the mud churned up in it turbidly.
The star grew pale and hid her face
In a bit of floating cloud like lace.
28. In the Carpenter's Shop (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
Mary sat in the corner dreaming,
Dim was the room and low,
While in the dusk, the saw went screaming
To and fro.
Jesus and Joseph toiled together,
Mary was watching them,
Thinking of kings in the wintry weather
Mary sat in the corner thinking,
Jesus had grown a man;
One by one her hopes were sinking
As the years ran.
Jesus and Joseph toiled together,
Mary's thoughts were far
Angels sang in the wintry weather
Under a star.
Mary sat in the corner weeping,
Bitter and hot her tears
Little faith were the angels keeping
All the years.
29. Swallow Flight (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
I love my hour of wind and light,
I love men's faces and their eyes,
I love my spirit's veering flight
Like swallows under evening skies.
30. Thoughts (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
When I can make my thoughts come forth
To walk like ladies up and down,
Each one puts on before the glass
Her most becoming hat and gown.
But oh, the shy and eager thoughts
That hide and will not get them dressed,
Why is it that they always seem
So much more lovely than the rest?
31. To Dick on his Sixth Birthday (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
Tho' I am very old and wise,
And you are neither wise nor old,
When I look far into your eyes,
I know things I was never told:
I know how flame must strain and fret
Prisoned in a mortal net;
How joy with over-eager wings,
Bruises the small heart where he sings;
How too much life, like too much gold,
Is sometimes very hard to hold ....
All that is talking but I know
This much is true, six years ago
An angel living near the moon
Walked thru the sky and sang a tune
Plucking stars to make his crown
And suddenly two stars fell down,
Two falling arrows made of light.
Six years ago this very night
I saw them fall and wondered why
The angel dropped them from the sky
But when I saw your eyes I knew
The angel sent the stars to you.
32. To Rose (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
Rose, when I remember you,
Little lady, scarcely two,
I am suddenly aware
Of the angels in the air.
All your softly gracious ways
Make an island in my days
Where my thoughts fly back to be
Sheltered from too strong a sea.
All your luminous delight
Shines before me in the night
When I grope for sleep and find
Only shadows in my mind.
Rose, when I remember you,
White and glowing, pink and new,
With so swift a sense of fun
Altho' life has just begun;
With so sure a pride of place
In your very infant face,
I should like to make a prayer
To the angels in the air:
"If an angel ever brings
Me a baby in her wings,
Please be certain that it grows
Very, very much like Rose."
33. Night in Arizona (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
The moon is a charring ember
Dying into the dark;
Off in the crouching mountains
The stars are heavy in heaven,
Too great for the sky to hold--
What if they fell and shattered
The earth with gold?
No lights are over the mesa,
The wind is hard and wild,
I stand at the darkened window
And cry like a child.
34. Vignettes Overseas: Stresa (from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)
The moon grows out of the hills
A yellow flower,
The lake is a dreamy bride
Who waits her hour.
Beauty has filled my heart,
It can hold no more,
It is full, as the lake is full,
From shore to shore.
35. Barter (from Love Songs, 1917)
Life has loveliness to sell
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.
36. Stars (from Flame and Shadow, 1920)
Alone in the night
On a dark hill
With pines around me
Spicy and still,
And a heaven full of stars
Over my head,
White and topaz
And a misty red;
Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
Cannot vex or tire;
Up the dome of heaven
Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
Stately and still,
And I know that I
Am honored to be
Of so much majesty.
37. The Coin (from Flame and Shadow, 1920)
Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin,--
Oh, better than the minting
Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
Of a lovely thing.
38. May Day (from Flame and Shadow, 1920)
A delicate fabric of bird song
Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
Red small leaves of the maple
Are clenched like a hand,
Like girls at their first communion
The pear trees stand.
Oh I must pass nothing by
Without loving it much,
The raindrop try with my lips,
The grass with my touch;
For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May
Shining after the rain?
39. Thoughts (from Flame and Shadow, 1920)
When I am all alone
Envy me most,
Then my thoughts flutter round me
In a glimmering host;
Some dressed in silver,
Some dressed in white,
Each like a taper
Most of them merry,
Some of them grave,
Each of them lithe
As willows that wave;
Some bearing violets,
Some bearing bay,
One with a burning rose
When I am all alone
Envy me then,
For I have better friends
Than women and men.
Sara Teasdale also wrote Stars To-night Verses for Boys and Girls (1930) which includes these poems: Night, Late October, The Falling Star, The Spicebush in March, Calm Morning at Sea, A June Day, Rhyme of November Stars, I Stood Upon a Star, Winter Noon, February Twilight. The book is out of print but worth attempting to locate. Some of its individual poems, like February Twilight and Falling Star, can be found by doing a search online.
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