It's just poetry, it won't bite

Happy Birthday Sara Teasdale!

08.09.09 Posted in Birthdays, today's words by

Teasdale was born on August 8, 1884, in St. Louis, MO. She was sickly,
poor thing, and wrote from an early age. In her later years she
suffered periods of near-complete disability. Her love life has been
the subject of much speculation, for she married a rich man and
rejected the poet she is said to have loved. There was also talk of an
involvement with another poet. That entanglement apparently ended
badly, inspiring some of Teasdale’s darker poetry. She committed
suicide by overdosing on barbiturates on January 29, 1933, some two
years after the reported love of her life killed himself by drinking a
bottle of Lysol. This poem, perhaps written for said dead lover while
he yet lived, is deceptively simple. Read it a few times to fully
discover the nuance of her voice. Can’t you just see a studied smile
cover the break of her heart as she points back on her lover the fault
for their missed embrace? Hear the haughty catch in her throat as she
speaks words of resignation and forgiving acceptance? Let’s wish a
happy 125th birthday to Sara Teasdale, who wrote so eloquently of the
volumes of her own sadness in this life.
Did You Never Know?
By Sara Teasdale
(Flame and Shadow, published by The Macmillan Company, NY, 1920)

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.

One Response to “Happy Birthday Sara Teasdale!”

  1. Kay says:

    The poem itself requested I read it several times. I am reminded . . . what better compliment?

Latest Podcast Episode
vox poetica archives