Print this page

Just in Time for Valentine's--Love Poem of the Week #2

Christa Deitrick, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department,
Sara Teasdale

Valentine's Day will be here before you know it!  So here's a sweet treat for you courtesy of Sara Teasdale, an American poet who lived from 1884-1933.   Teasdale (pictured above) hailed from St. Louis and moved to New York in 1916 with her husband Ernst Filsinger.   In 1918, she became the first woman to be awarded the Columbia University Poetry Society Prize (better known today as the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry). The winning collection, entitled Love Songs, included the poem below.  Despite her output of celebrated love poems, Sara's marriage was not a happy one.  She snuck out of state and divorced Filsinger in 1929.  But that didn't bring happiness, either.  Disillusioned and in declining health, Teasdale died by her own hand at the age of 48.  This was two years after her lover, the poet Vachel Lindsay (whose proposal of marriage she had rejected many years before), killed himself by drinking a bottle of Lysol.  Ach, these poets--so emotional!  But the poem is a delight.  Enjoy it in the spirit of Love with a capital L and get out there and have yourselves a wonderful Valentine's Day!

 

Barter

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.

-- Sara Teasdale

 

Recommended reading:
The Collected Poems of Sara Teasdale
Sara Teasdale, Woman & Poet


Top