A Poet Eluded by Happiness

Stalked by illness (she wasn’t able to start school until age 9 because of her infirmities), plagued by depression, deeply loved by her friend Vachel Lindsay — the poet who preceded her in suicide by two years Sara Teasdale was born on Aug. 8, 1884.

She was as prolific as she was tortured, publishing first at age 23 and going on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1918 for her volume of collected poems titled Love Songs. Would that her talent or the public’s admiration could have saved her. Here is a view of her world view and a tribute to her 78 years after her death.


Advice to a Girl


No one worth possessing

Can be quite possessed;

Lay that on your heart,

My young angry dear;

This truth, this hard and precious stone,

Lay it on your hot cheek,

Let it hide your tear.

Hold it like a crystal

When you are alone

And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.

Long, look long and you will be blessed:

No one worth possessing

Can be quite possessed.




I Have Loved Hours At Sea


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.


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