39 Poems by Sara Teasdale 1884-1933 (23 poems by Hilda Conkling follow)
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.
Poems by Hilda Conkling who wrote poetry at age 10 and 12
1. Moon Song
There is a star that runs very fast,
That goes pulling the moon
Through the tops of the poplars.
It is all in silver,
The tall star:
The moon rolls goldenly along
Out of breath.
Mr. Moon, does he make you hurry?
The chickadee in the appletree
Talks all the time very gently.
He makes me sleepy.
I rock away to the sea-lights.
Far off I hear him talking
The way smooth bright pebbles
Drop into water . . .
Chick-a-dee-dee-dee . . .
3. Red Rooster
Red rooster in your gray coop,
O stately creature with tail-feathers red and blue,
Yellow and black,
You have a comb gay as a parade
On your head:
You have pearl trinkets
On your feet:
The short feathers smooth along your back
Are the dark color of wet rocks,
Or the rippled green of ships
When I look at their sides through water.
I don't know how you happened to be made
So proud, so foolish,
Wearing your coat of many colors,
Shouting all day long your crooked words,
Loud . . . sharp . . . not beautiful!
4. Tree Toad
Tree-toad is a small gray person
With a silver voice.
Tree-toad is a leaf-gray shadow
Tree-toad is never seen
Unless a star squeezes through the leaves,
Or a moth looks sharply at a gray branch.
How would it be, I wonder,
To sing patiently all night,
Never thinking that people are asleep?
Raindrops and mist, starriness over the trees,
The moon, the dew, the other little singers,
Cricket . . . toad . . . leaf rustling . . .
They would listen:
It would be music like weather
That gets into all the corners
Every night I see little shadows
I never saw before.
Every night I hear little voices
I never heard before.
When night comes trailing her starry cloak,
I start out for slumberland,
With tree-toads calling along the roadside.
Good-night, I say to one, Good-by, I say to another:
I hope to find you on the way
We have traveled before!
I hope to hear you singing on the Road of Dreams!
O little soldier with the golden helmet,
What are you guarding on my lawn?
You with your green gun
And your yellow beard,
Why do you stand so stiff?
There is only the grass to fight!
6. Little Snail
I saw a little snail
Come down the garden walk.
He wagged his head this way . . . that way . . .
Like a clown in a circus.
He looked from side to side
As though he were from a different country.
I have always said he carries his house on his back . . .
To-day in the rain
I saw that it was his umbrella!
7. The Old Bridge
The old bridge has a wrinkled face.
He bends his back
For us to go over.
He moans and weeps
But we do not hear.
Sorrow stands in his face
For the heavy weight and worry
Of people passing.
The trees drop their leaves into the water;
The sky nods to him.
The leaves float down like small ships
On the blue surface
Which is the sky.
He is not always sad:
He smiles to see the ships go down
And the little children
Playing on the river banks.
This is mint and here are three pinks
I have brought you, Mother.
They are wet with rain
And shining with it.
The pinks smell like more of them
In a blue vase:
The mint smells like summer
In many gardens.
9. I Am
I am willowy boughs
I am gold-finch wings
I am a little grape
Thinking of September,
I am a very small violet
Thinking of May.
10. Spring Song
I love daffodils.
I love Narcissus when he bends his head.
I can hardly keep March and spring and Sunday and daffodils
Out of my rhyme of song.
Do you know anything about the spring
When it comes again?
God knows about it while winter is lasting.
Flowers bring him power in the spring,
And birds bring it, and children.
He is sometimes sad and alone
Up there in the sky trying to keep his worlds happy.
I bring him songs
When he is in his sadness, and weary.
I tell him how I used to wander out
To study stars and the moon he made,
And flowers in the dark of the wood.
I keep reminding him about his flowers he has forgotten,
And that snowdrops are up.
What can I say to make him listen?
"God," I say,
"Don't you care!
Nobody must be sad or sorry
In the spring-time of flowers."
The world turns softly
Not to spill its lakes and rivers.
The water is held in its arms
And the sky is held in the water.
What is water,
That pours silver,
And can hold the sky?
12. Autumn Song
I made a ring of leaves
On the autumn grass:
I was a fairy queen all day.
Inside the ring, the wind wore sandals
Not to make a noise of going.
The caterpillars, like little snow men,
Had wound themselves in their winter coats.
The hands of the trees were bare
And their fingers fluttered.
I was a queen of yellow leaves and brown,
And the redness of my fairy ring
Kept me warm.
For the wind blew near,
Though he made no noise of going,
And I hadn't a close-made wrap
Like the caterpillars.
Even a queen of fairies can be cold
When summer has forgotten and gone!
Keep me warm, red leaves;
Don't let the frost tiptoe into my ring
On the magic grass!
13. Thunder Shower
The dark cloud raged.
Gone was the morning light.
The big drops darted down:
The storm stood tall on the rose-trees:
And the bees that were getting honey
Out of wet roses,
The hiding bees would not come out of the flowers
Into the rain.
14. Purple Asters
It isn't alone the asters
In my garden,
It is the butterflies gleaming
Like crowns of kings and queens!
It isn't alone purple
And blue on the edge of purple,
It is what the sun does,
And the air moving clearly,
The petals moving and the wings,
In my queer little garden!
15. Moon Thought
The moon is thinking of the river
Winding through the mountains far away,
Because she has a river in her heart
Full of the same silver.
16. Sun Flowers
Sun-flowers, stop growing!
If you touch the sky where those clouds are passing
Like tufts of dandelion gone to seed,
The sky will put you out!
You know it is blue like the sea . . .
Maybe it is wet, too!
Your gold faces will be gone forever
If you brush against that blue
Ever so softly!
The poplars bow forward and back;
They are like a fan waving very softly.
For they love the wind in their feathery branches.
They love to look down at the shallows,
At the mermaids
On the sandy shore;
They love to look into morning's face
Cool in the water.
Oh bluebird with light red breast,
And your blue back like a feathered sky,
You have to go down south
Before biting winter comes
And my flower-beds are covered with fluff out of the clouds.
Before you go,
Sing me one more song
Of tree-tops down south,
Of darkies singing their babies to sleep,
Of sand and glittering stones
Where rivers pass;
Then . . . good-by!
19. Snowflake Song
Snowflakes come in fleets
Like ships over the sea.
The moon shines down on the crusty snow:
The stars make the sky sparkle like gold-fish
In a glassy bowl.
Bluebirds are gone now,
But they left their song behind them.
The moon seems to say:
It is time for summer when the birds come back
To pick up their lonesome songs.
Snowflakes are dancing.
They run down out of heaven.
Coming home from somewhere down the long tired road
They flake us sometimes
The way they do the grass,
And the stretch of the world.
The grass-blades are crowned with snowflakes.
They make me think of daisies
With white frills around their necks
With golden faces and green gowns;
Poor little daisies,
Tip-toe and shivering
In the cold!
Oh big red poppy,
You look stern and sturdy,
Yet you bow to the wind
And sing a lullaby . . .
"Sleep, little ones under my breast
In the moonshine . . ."
You make this lullaby,
And you thank the dew for giving you a drink.
The clouds were gray all day.
At last they departed
And the blue diamonds shone again.
I watched clouds float past and flow back
Like waves across the sea,
Waves that are foamy and soft,
When they hear clouds calling
Mother Sea, send us up your song
Why do you stand on the air
And no sun shining?
How can you hold yourself so still
On raindrops sliding?
They change and fall, they are not steady,
But you do not know they are gone.
Is there a silver wire
I cannot see?
Is the wind your perch?
Raindrops slide down your little shoulders . . .
They do not wet you:
I think you are not real
In your green feathers!
You are not a humming-bird at all
Standing on air above the garden!
I dreamed you the way I dream fairies,
Or the flower I lost yesterday!
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