Sara Teasdale was an American lyric poet. She was born Sarah Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouri, and used the name Sara Teasdale Filsinger after her marriage in 1914.
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Famous Sara Teasdale Poems
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.”
I THOUGHT of you when I was wakened
By a wind that made me glad and afraid
Of the rushing, pouring sound of the sea
That the great trees made.
One thought in my mind went over and over
While the darkness shook and the leaves were thinned—
I thought it was you who had come to find me,
You were the wind.
The Silent Battle
(In Memory of J. W. T. Jr.)
HE was a soldier in that fight
Where there is neither flag nor drum,
And without sound of musketry
The stealthy foemen come.
Year in, year out, by day and night
They forced him to a slow retreat,
And for his gallant fight alone
No fife was blown, and no drum beat.
In winter fog, in gathering mist
The gray grim battle had its end—
And at the very last we knew
His enemy had turned his friend.
OH to be free of myself,
With nothing left to remember,
To have my heart as bare
As a tree in December;
Resting, as a tree rests
After its leaves are gone,
Waiting no more for a rain at night
Nor for the red at dawn;
But still, oh so still
While the winds come and go,
With no more fear of the hard frost
Or the bright burden of snow;
And heedless, heedless
If anyone pass and see
On the white page of the sky
Its thin black tracery.
ATOMS as old as stars,
Mutation on mutation,
Millions and millions of cells
Dividing yet still the same,
From air and changing earth,
From ancient Eastern rivers,
From turquoise tropic seas,
Unto myself I came.
My spirit like my flesh
Sprang from a thousand sources,
From cave-man, hunter and shepherd,
From Karnak, Cyprus, Rome;
The living thoughts in me
Spring from dead men and women,
Forgotten time out of mind
And many as bubbles of foam.
Here for a moment’s space
Into the light out of darkness,
I come and they come with me
Finding words with my breath;
From the wisdom of many life-times
I hear them cry: ‘Forever
Seek for Beauty, she only
Fights with man against Death!’
IF I could keep my innermost Me
Fearless, aloof and free
Of the least breath of love or hate,
And not disconsolate
At the sick load of sorrow laid on men;
If I could keep a sanctuary there
Free even of prayer,
If I could do this, then,
With quiet candor as I grew more wise
I could look even at God with grave forgiving eyes.
I CANNOT die, who drank delight
From the cup of the crescent moon,
And hungrily as men eat bread,
Loved the scented nights of June.
The rest may die—but is there not
Some shining strange escape for me
Who sought in Beauty the bright wine
To Sappho I
Impassioned singer of the happy time.
When all the world was waking into morn,
And dew still glistened on the tangled thorn,
And lingered on the branches of the lime —
Oh peerless singer of the golden rhyme,
Happy wert thou to live ere doubt was born —
Before the joy of life was half out-worn,
And nymphs and satyrs vanished from your clime.
Then maidens bearing parsley in their hands
Wound thro’ the groves to where the goddess stands,
And mariners might sail for unknown lands
Past sea-clasped islands veiled in mystery —
And Venus still was shining from the sea,
And Ceres had not lost Persephone.
To A Picture Of Eleonora Duse As
Oh flower-sweet face and bended flower-like head!
Oh violet whose purple cannot pale,
Or forest fragrance ever faint or fail,
Or breath and beauty pass among the dead!
Yea, very truly has the poet said,
No mist of years or might of death avail
To darken beauty — brighter thro’ the veil
We see the glimmer of its-wings outspread.
Oh face embowered and shadowed by thy hair,
Some lotus blossom on a darkened stream!
If ever I have pictured in a dream
My guardian angel, she is like to this,
Her eyes know joy, yet sorrow lingers there,
And on her lips the shadow of a kiss.
The Wind In The Hemlock
STEELY stars and moon of brass,
How mockingly you watch me pass!
You know as well as I how soon
I shall be blind to stars and moon,
Deaf to the wind in the hemlock tree,
Dumb when the brown earth weighs on me.
With envious dark rage I bear,
Stars, your cold complacent stare;
Heart-broken in my hate look up,
Moon, at your clear immortal cup,
Changing to gold from dusky red—
Age after age when I am dead
To be filled up with light, and then
Emptied, to be refilled again.
What has man done that only he
Is slave to death—so brutally
Beaten back into the earth
Impatient for him since his birth?
Oh let me shut my eyes, close out
The sight of stars and earth and be
Sheltered a minute by this tree.
Hemlock, through your fragrant boughs
There moves no anger and no doubt,
No envy of immortal things.
The night-wind murmurs of the sea
With veiled music ceaselessly,
That to my shaken spirit sings.
From their frail nest the robins rouse,
In your pungent darkness stirred,
Twittering a low drowsy word—
And me you shelter, even me.
In your quietness you house
The wind, the woman and the bird.
You speak to me and I have heard:
To Eleonora Duse I
Oh beauty that is filled so full of tears,
Where every passing anguish left its trace,
I pray you grant to me this depth of grace:
That I may see before it disappears,
Blown through the gateway of our hopes and fears
To death’s insatiable last embrace,
The glory and the sadness of your face,
Its longing unappeased through all the years.
No bitterness beneath your sorrow clings;
Within the wild dark falling of your hair
There lies a strength that ever soars and sings;
Your mouth’s mute weariness is not despair.
Perhaps among us craven earth-born things
God loves its silence better than a prayer.
To Eleonora Duse Ii
Your beauty lives in mystic melodies,
And all the light about you breathes a song.
Your voice awakes the dreaming airs that throng
Within our music-haunted memories.
The sirens’ strain that sank within the seas
When men forgot to listen, floats along
Your voice’s undercurrent soft and strong.
Sicilian shepherds pipe beneath the trees;
Along the purple hills of drifted sand,
A lone Egyptian plays an ancient flute;
At dawn the Memnon gives his old salute
Beside the Nile, by desert breezes fanned.
The music faints about you as you stand,
And with the Orphean lay it trembles mute.
To L. R. E.
When first I saw you — felt you take my hand,
I could not speak for happiness to find
How more than all they said your heart was kind,
How strong you were, and quick to understand —
I dared not say: ‘I who am least of those
Who call you friend — I love you, and I crave
A little love that I may be more brave
Because one watches me who cares and knows.’
So, silent, long ago I used to look
High up along the shelves at one great book,
And longed to see its contents, childishwise,
And now I know it for my Poet’s own, —
So sometime shall I know you and be known,
And looking upward, I shall find your eyes.
To A Picture Of Eleanor Duse
Was ever any face like this before —
So light a veiling for the soul within,
So pure and yet so pitiful for sin?
They say the soul will pass the Heavy Door,
And yearning upward, learn creation’s lore —
The body buried ‘neath the earthly din.
But thine shall live forever, it hath been
So near the soul, and shall be evermore.
Oh eyes that see so far thro’ misted tears,
Oh Death, behold, these eyes can never die!
Yea, tho’ your kiss shall rob these lips of breath,
Their faint, sad smile will still elude thee, Death.
Behold the perfect flower this neck uprears,
And bow thy head and pass the wonder by.
To Eleonora Duse In
Were you a Greek when all the world was young,
Before the weary years that pass and pass,
Had scattered all the temples on the grass,
Before the moss to marble columns clung?
I think your snowy tunic must have hung
As now your gown does — wave on wave a mass
Of woven water. As within a glass
I see your face when Homer’s tales were sung.
Alcaeus kissed your mouth and found it sweet,
And Sappho’s hand has lingered in your hand.
You half remember Lesbos as you stand
Where all the times and countries mix and meet,
And lay your weight of beauty at our feet,
A garland gathered in a distant land.