Poems of Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933

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01. The Love that Goes A-begging
02. Wishes
03. Dusk in Autumn
04. Dream Song
05. Faults
06. Snow Song
07. November
08. A Winter Night
09. Dawn
10. Dusk
11. Rain at Night
12. A Ballad of Two Knights
13. The Faery Forest
14. A Minuet of Mozart's
15. Twilight
16. Grandfather's Love
17. The Kind Moon
18. Spring Night
19. April
20. A Winter Blue Jay
21. In the Train
22. Morning
23. May Night
24. Dusk in June
25. The Sea Wind
26. The Cloud
27. The Star
28. In the Carpenter's Shop
29. Swallow Flight
30. Thoughts
31. To Dick on his Sixth Birthday
32. To Rose
33. Night in Arizona
34. Vignettes Overseas: Stresa
35. Barter
36. Stars
37. The Coin
38. May Day
39. Thoughts

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

A scimitar is a short sword with a curved blade.

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 (City Vignettes, 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 (City Vignettes, 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 (City Vignettes, 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. from 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 Faëry Forest from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911

The faëry forest glimmered
      Beneath an ivory moon,
The silver grasses shimmered
      Against a faëry 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?
But no,
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
"Oh look!"
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
            At Bethlehem.

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
            Coyotes bark.

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
That aeons
      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
      Is everywhere.

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
      Blossoming light;

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
      Hidden away--

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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