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.


    Part III


      AS dew leaves the cobweb lightly
           Threaded with stars,
      Scattering jewels on the fence
           And the pasture bars;
      As dawn leaves the dry grass bright
           And the tangled weeds
      Bearing a rainbow gem
           On each of their seeds;
      So has your love, my lover,
           Fresh as the dawn,
      Made me a shining road
           To travel on,
      Set every common sight
           Of tree or stone
      Delicately alight
           For me alone.


      THE moon is a curving flower of gold,
           The sky is still and blue;
      The moon was made for the sky to hold,
           And I for you.

      The moon is a flower without a stem,
           The sky is luminous;
      Eternity was made for them,
           To-night for us.


      WHEN the long day goes by
           And I do not see your face,
      The old wild, restless sorrow
           Steals from its hiding place.

      My day is barren and broken,
           Bereft of light and song,
      A sea beach bleak and windy
           That moans the whole day long.

      To the empty beach at ebb tide,
           Bare with its rocks and scars,
      Come back like the sea with singing,
           And light of a million stars.


      OH, because you never tried
      To bow my will or break my pride,
      And nothing of the cave-man made
      You want to keep me half afraid,
      Nor ever with a conquering air
      You thought to draw me unaware --
      Take me, for I love you more
      Than I ever loved before.

      And since the body's maidenhood
      Alone were neither rare nor good
      Unless with it I gave to you
      A spirit still untrammeled, too,
      Take my dreams and take my mind
      That were masterless as wind;
      And "Master!" I shall say to you
      Since you never asked me to.

    The Tree of Song

      I SANG my songs for the rest,
           For you I am still;
      The tree of my song is bare
           On its shining hill.

      For you came like a lordly wind,
           And the leaves were whirled
      Far as forgotten things
           Past the rim of the world.

      The tree of my song stands bare
           Against the blue --
      I gave my songs to the rest,
           Myself to you.

    The Wanderer

      I SAW the sunset-colored sands,
           The Nile like flowing fire between,
           Where Rameses stares forth serene,
      And Ammon's heavy temple stands.

      I saw the rocks where long ago,
           Above the sea that cries and breaks,
           Swift Perseus with Medusa's snakes           [Bright Perseus with Medusa's snakes]
      Set free the maiden white like snow.

      And many skies have covered me,
           And many winds have blown me forth,
           And I have loved the green, bright north,
      And I have loved the cold, sweet sea.

      But what to me are north and south,
           And what the lure of many lands,
           Since you have leaned to catch my hands
      And lay a kiss upon my mouth.


      IT is enough for me by day
           To walk the same bright earth with him;
      Enough that over us by night
           The same great roof of stars is dim.

      I do not hope to bind the wind           [I have no care to bind the wind ]
           Or set a fetter on the sea --
      It is enough to feel his love
           Blow by like music over me.


      I HAVE no riches but my thoughts,
           Yet these are wealth enough for me;
      My thoughts of you are golden coins
           Stamped in the mint of memory;

      And I must spend them all in song,
           For thoughts, as well as gold, must be
      Left on the hither side of death
           To gain their immortality.

    Dusk in War Time

      A HALF-HOUR more and you will lean
           To gather me close in the old sweet way --
      But oh, to the woman over the sea
           Who will come at the close of day?

      A half-hour more and I will hear
           The key in the latch and the strong, quick tread --
      But oh, the woman over the sea
           Waiting at dusk for one who is dead!


      PEACE flows into me
           As the tide to the pool by the shore;
           It is mine forevermore,
      It will not ebb like the sea.           [It ebbs not back like the sea.]

      I am the pool of blue
           That worships the vivid sky;
           My hopes were heaven-high,
      They are all fulfilled in you.

      I am the pool of gold
           When sunset burns and dies --
           You are my deepening skies;
      Give me your stars to hold.

    House of Dreams

      YOU took my empty dreams
           And filled them every one
      With tenderness and nobleness,
           April and the sun.

      The old empty dreams
           Where my thoughts would throng
      Are far too full of happiness
           To even hold a song.

      Oh, the empty dreams were dim
           And the empty dreams were wide,
      They were sweet and shadowy houses
           Where my thoughts could hide.

      But you took my dreams away
           And you made them all come true --
      My thoughts have no place now to play,
           And nothing now to do.


      WHEN we come home at night and close the door,
           Standing together in the shadowy room,
           Safe in our own love and the gentle gloom,
      Glad of familiar wall and chair and floor,

      Glad to leave far below the clanging city;
           Looking far downward to the glaring street
           Gaudy with light, yet tired with many feet,
      In both of us wells up a wordless pity;

      Men have tried hard to put away the dark;
           A million lighted windows brilliantly
                Inlay with squares of gold the winter night,
      But to us standing here there comes the stark
                Sense of the lives behind each yellow light,
           And not one wholly joyous, proud, or free.


      MY soul lives in my body's house,
           And you have both the house and her --
      But sometimes she is less your own
           Than a wild, gay adventurer;
      A restless and an eager wraith,
           How can I tell what she will do --
      Oh, I am sure of my body's faith,
           But what if my soul broke faith with you?


      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.

    Other Men

      WHEN I talk with other men
           I always think of you --
      Your words are keener than their words,
           And they are gentler, too.

      When I look at other men,
           I wish your face were there,
      With its gray eyes and dark skin
           And tossed black hair.

      When I think of other men,
           Dreaming alone by day,
      The thought of you like a strong wind
           Blows the dreams away.


      I SAID, "My youth is gone
           Like a fire beaten out by the rain,
      That will never sway and sing
           Or play with the wind again."

      I said, "It is no great sorrow
           That quenched my youth in me,
      But only little sorrows
           Beating ceaselessly."

      I thought my youth was gone,
           But you returned --
      Like a flame at the call of the wind
           It leaped and burned;

      Threw off its ashen cloak,
           And gowned anew
      Gave itself like a bride
           Once more to you.

    The Lamp

      IF I can bear your love like a lamp before me,
      When I go down the long steep Road of Darkness,
      I shall not fear the everlasting shadows,
           Nor cry in terror.

      If I can find out God, then I shall find Him,
      If none can find Him, then I shall sleep soundly,
      Knowing how well on earth your love sufficed me,
           A lamp in darkness.

    On to the next poem.

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