American Lyrical Poet
Sara Teasdale, born Sara Trevor Teasdale, aka Sara Teasdale Filsinger
American Lyrical Poet
I saw him sitting in his door, trembling as old men do; his house was old; his barn was old, and yet his eyes seemed new. His eyes had seen three times my years and kept a twinkle still, though they had looked at birth and death and three graves on a hill. "I will sit down with you," I said, "And you will make me wise; Tell me how you have kept the joy Still burning in your eyes." Then like an old-time orator impressively he rose; "I make the most of all that comes, The least of all that goes." The jingling rhythm of his words Echoes as old songs do, yet this had kept his eyes alight till he was ninety-two.
I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful when rain bends down the bough; and I shall be more silent and cold-hearted than you are now.
I shall make the most of all that comes: and the least of all that goes.
I should be glad of loneliness and hours that go on broken wings, a thirsty body, a tired heart and the unchanging ache of things, if I could make a single song as lovely and as full of light, as hushed and brief as a falling star on a winter night.
I thought I had forgotten, but it all came back again to-night with the first spring thunder in a rush of rain. I remembered a darkened doorway where we stood while the storm swept by, thunder gripping the earth and lightning scrawled on the sky. The passing motor busses swayed, for the street was a river of rain, lashed into little golden waves in the lamp light's stain. With the wild spring rain and thunder my heart was wild and gay; your eyes said more to me that night than your lips would ever say. . . . I thought I had forgotten, but it all came back again to-night with the first spring thunder in a rush of rain.
I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.
I may not speak till Eros' torch is dim, the god is bitter and will have it so.
Beauty in all things and in every hour. The gods have given life ? I gave them song; the debt is paid and now I turn to go.
I found more joy in sorrow than you could find in joy.
Beauty, more than bitterness makes the heart break.
I have come to bury Love beneath a tree, in the forest tall and black where none can see. I shall put no flowers at his head, nor stone at his feet, for the mouth I loved so much was bittersweet. I shall go no more to his grave, for the woods are cold. I shall gather as much of joy as my hands can hold. I shall stay all day in the sun where the wide winds blow, -- But oh, I shall cry at night when none will know.
But I will turn my eyes from you as women turn to put away the jewels they have worn at night and cannot wear in sober day.
I have grown weary of the winds of heaven. I will not be a reed to hold the sound of whatsoever breath the gods may blow, turning my torment into music for them. They gave me life; the gift was bountiful, I lived with the swift singing strength of fire, seeking for beauty as a flame for fuel -
But oh, to him I loved who loved me not at all, I owe the little open gate that led thru heaven's wall.
I have loved hours at sea, gray cities, the fragile secret of a flower, music, the making of a poem that gave me heaven for an hour; first stars above a snowy hill, voices of people kindly and wise, and the great look of love, long hidden, found at last in meeting eyes. I have loved much and been loved deeply?oh when my spirit's fire burns low, leave me the darkness and the stillness, I shall be tired and glad to go.
But you I never understood, your spirit's secret hides like gold sunk in a Spanish galleon ages ago in waters cold.
I heard a cry in the night, a thousand miles it came, sharp as a flash of light, my name, my name! It was your voice I heard, you waked and loved me so --I send you back this word,I know, I know!
Call him wise whose actions, words, and steps are all a clear because to a clear why.
I heard the water-fall rejoice singing like a choir, I saw the sun flash out of it azure and amber fire. The earth was like an open flower enameled and arrayed, the path I took to find its heart fluttered with sun and shade. And while earth lured me, gently, gently, happy and all alone, suddenly a heavy snake reared black upon a stone.
Can I ever know you or you know me?
I hope that when he smiles at me he does not guess my joy and pain, for if he did, he is too kind to ever look my way again.
Come, when the pale moon like a petal floats in the pearly dusk of spring, come with arms outstretched to take me, come with lips pursed up to cling. Come, for life is a frail moth flying, caught in the web of the years that pass, and soon we two, so warm and eager, will be as the gray stones in the grass.
I love too much; I am a river surging with spring that seeks the sea, I am too generous a giver, love will not stoop to drink of me. His feet will turn to desert places shadowless, reft of rain and dew, where stars stare down with sharpened faces from heavens pitilessly blue. And there at midnight sick with faring, he will stoop down in his desire to slake the thirst grown past all bearing in stagnant water keen as fire.
Did you never know, long ago, how much you loved me? that your love would never lessen and never go? You were young then, proud and fresh-hearted, you were too young to know. Fate is a wind, and red leaves fly before it far apart, far away in the gusty time of year?seldom we meet now, but when I hear you speaking, I know your secret, my dear, my dear.
I made you many and many a song, yet never one told all you are--it was as though a net of words were flung to catch a star; it was as though I curved my hand and dipped sea-water eagerly,only to find it lost the blue dark splendor of the sea.