poem index

About this poet

On August 8, 1884, Sara Trevor Teasdale was born in St. Louis, Missouri, into an old, established, and devout family. She was home-schooled until she was nine and traveled frequently to Chicago, where she became part of the circle surrounding Poetry magazine and Harriet Monroe. Teasdale published Sonnets to Duse, and Other Poems, her first volume of verse, in 1907. Her second collection, Helen of Troy, and Other Poems, followed in 1911, and her third, Rivers to the Sea, in 1915.

In 1914 Teasdale married Ernst Filsinger; she had previously rejected a number of other suitors, including Vachel Lindsay. She moved with her new husband to New York City in 1916. In 1918, she won the Columbia University Poetry Society Prize (which became the Pulitzer Prize for poetry) and the Poetry Society of America Prize for Love Songs, which had appeared in 1917. She published three more volumes of poetry during her lifetime: Flame and Shadow (1920), Dark of the Moon (1926), and Stars To-night (1930). Teasdale's work had always been characterized by its simplicity and clarity, her use of classical forms, and her passionate and romantic subject matter. These later books trace her growing finesse and poetic subtlety. She divorced in 1929 and lived the rest of her life as a semi-invalid. Weakened after a difficult bout with pneumonia, Teasdale committed suicide on January 29, 1933, with an overdose of barbiturates. Her final collection, Strange Victory appeared posthumously that same year.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems (1907)
Helen of Troy and Other Poems (1911)
Love Songs (1917)
Flame and Shadow (1920)
Dark of the Moon (1926)
Stars To-night (1930)
Strange Victory (1933)

Moonlight

Sara Teasdale, 1884 - 1933
It will not hurt me when I am old,
     A running tide where moonlight burned
          Will not sting me like silver snakes;
The years will make me sad and cold,
          It is the happy heart that breaks.

The heart asks more than life can give,
     When that is learned, then all is learned;
          The waves break fold on jewelled fold,
But beauty itself is fugitive,
          It will not hurt me when I am old.

This poem is in the public domain.

Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale

Born in 1884, Sara Trevor Teasdale's work was characterized by its simplicity and clarity and her use of classical forms

by this poet

poem
What do I care, in the dreams and the languor of spring,
That my songs do not show me at all?
For they are a fragrance, and I am a flint and a fire,
I am an answer, they are only a call.

But what do I care, for love will be over so soon,
Let my heart have its say and my mind stand idly by,
For my mind is proud
poem
Before you kissed me only winds of heaven
Had kissed me, and the tenderness of rain—
Now you have come, how can I care for kisses
Like theirs again?

I sought the sea, she sent her winds to meet me,
They surged about me singing of the south—
I turned my head away to keep still holy
Your kiss upon my mouth.

And
poem
Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And childrens's faces looking up
Holding wonder in 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