Love Songs
Sara Teasdale

Poets' Corner Scripting
© 2000, 2020 S.L. Spanoudis and
All rights reserved worldwide.

Transcribed for Poets' Corner
July 2000 by S.L.Spanoudis

[This 1917 work is believed to be in the public domain in the US. Please check local restrictions in other geographies.]

[Editor's Note: This book, as originally published, contains many selections taken from two of Teasdale's previous works, Rivers to the Sea and Helen of Troy and Other Poems. Only a few of these poems are included in this online version, primarily in cases where Teasdale made slight changes from earlier versions. Note that she left instructions for only about 15 of the works from sections I and III be included in her Collected Poems. Modifications are individually noted for each poem. -- Steve]

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Sara Teasdale
Love Songs

by Sara Teasdale

To E.


      I have remembered beauty in the night,
           Against black silences I waked to see
           A shower of sunlight over Italy
      And green Ravello dreaming on her height;
      I have remembered music in the dark,
           The clean swift brightness of a fugue of Bach's,
           And running water singing on the rocks
      When once in English woods I heard a lark.

      But all remembered beauty is no more
           Than a vague prelude to the thought of you --
           You are the rarest soul I ever knew,
                Lover of beauty, knightliest and best;
      My thoughts seek you as waves that seek the shore,
                 And when I think of you, I am at rest.

      Part I


        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.

      Child, Child

        CHILD, child, love while you can
        The voice and the eyes and the soul of a man;
        Never fear though it break your heart --
        Out of the wound new joy will start;
        Only love proudly and gladly and well,
        Though love be heaven or love be hell.

        Child, child, love while you may,
        For life is short as a happy day;
        Never fear the thing you feel --
        Only by love is life made real;
        Love, for the deadly sins are seven,
        Only through love will you enter heaven.


        PIERROT stands in the garden
             Beneath a waning moon,
        And on his lute he fashions
             A fragile silver tune.           [A little silver tune.]

        Pierrot plays in the garden,
             He thinks he plays for me,
        But I am quite forgotten
             Under the cherry tree.

        Pierrot plays in the garden,
             And all the roses know
        That Pierrot loves his music, --
             But I love Pierrot.

      Wild Asters

        IN the spring I asked the daisies
             If his words were true,
        And the clever, clear-eyed daisies           [And the clever little daisies ]
             Always knew.

        Now the fields are brown and barren,
             Bitter autumn blows,
        And of all the stupid asters
             Not one knows.

      Buried Love

        I HAVE come to bury Love           [I shall bury my weary 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           [But oh, I shall weep at night]
             When none will know.

      The Fountain

        ALL through the deep blue night           [On in the deep blue night]
             The fountain sang alone;
        It sang to the drowsy heart
             Of the satyr carved in stone.

        The fountain sang and sang,
             But the satyr never stirred --
        Only the great white moon
             In the empty heaven heard.

        The fountain sang and sang
             While on the marble rim And on the marble rim
        The milk-white peacocks slept,
             And their dreams were strange and dim.

        Bright dew was on the grass,
             And on the ilex, dew,
        The dreamy milk-white birds
             Were all a-glisten, too.

        The fountain sang and sang
             The things one cannot tell;
        The dreaming peacocks stirred
             And the gleaming dew-drops fell.

      A Prayer

        UNTIL I lose my soul and lie
             Blind to the beauty of the earth,
        Deaf though shouting wind goes by,           [Deaf tho' a lyric wind goes by,]
             Dumb in a storm of mirth;

        Until my heart is quenched at length
             And I have left the land of men,
        Oh, let me love with all my strength
             Careless if I am loved again.

      May Wind

        I SAID, "I have shut my heart
             As one shuts an open door,
        That Love may starve therein
             And trouble me no more."

        But over the roofs there came
             The wet new wind of May,
        And a tune blew up from the curb
             Where the street-pianos play.

        My room was white with the sun
             And Love cried out in me,
        "I am strong, I will break your heart
             Unless you set me free."


        LOVE in my heart was a fresh tide flowing
             Where the starlike sea gulls soar;
        The sun was keen and the foam was blowing
             High on the rocky shore.

        But now in the dusk the tide is turning,
             Lower the sea gulls soar,
        And the waves that rose in resistless yearning
             Are broken forevermore.

      After Love

        THERE is no magic any more,           [There is no magic when we meet,]
             We meet as other people do,           [We speak as other people do,]
        You work no miracle for me
             Nor I for you.

        You were the wind and I the sea --
             There is no splendor any more,
        I have grown listless as the pool
             Beside the shore.

        But though the pool is safe from storm
             And from the tide has found surcease,
        It grows more bitter than the sea,
             For all its peace.

      The Kiss

        I HOPED that he would love me,
             And he has kissed my mouth,
        But I am like a stricken bird
             That cannot reach the south.

        For though I know he loves me,
             To-night my heart is sad;
        His kiss was not so wonderful
             As all the dreams I had.


        THE world is tired, the year is old,
             The fading leaves are glad to die,           [The faded leaves are glad to die]
        The wind goes shivering with cold
             Where the brown reeds are dry.

        Our love is dying like the grass,
             And we who kissed grow coldly kind,
        Half glad to see our old love pass           [Half glad to see our poor love pass ]
             Like leaves along the wind.

      Spring Rain

        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.

      The Ghost

        I WENT back to the clanging city,
             I went back where my old loves stayed,
        But my heart was full of my new love's glory,
             My eyes were laughing and unafraid.

        I met one who had loved me madly
             And told his love for all to hear --
        But we talked of a thousand things together,
             The past was buried too deep to fear.

        I met the other, whose love was given
             With never a kiss and scarcely a word --
        Oh, it was then the terror took me
             Of words unuttered that breathed and stirred.

        Oh, love that lives its life with laughter
             Or love that lives its life with tears
        Can die -- but love that is never spoken
             Goes like a ghost through the winding years. . . .

        I went back to the clanging city,
             I went back where my old loves stayed,
        My heart was full of my new love's glory, --
             But my eyes were suddenly afraid.


        IF I should see your eyes again,
             I know how far their look would go --
        Back to a morning in the park
             With sapphire shadows on the snow.

        Or back to oak trees in the spring
             When you unloosed my hair and kissed
        The head that lay against your knees
             In the leaf shadow's amethyst.

        And still another shining place
             We would remember -- how the dun
        Wild mountain held us on its crest
             One diamond morning white with sun.

        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.

      On to the next poem.

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