Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry: St. Louis edition!

Hello readers! Today's poem was written by a poet who has largely been forgotten/overlooked: Sara Teasdale. Teasdale was born in St. Louis (!) in 1884 and published her first collection of verse in 1907. At 23, she had already published a book of poems. Bitch.

Just kidding!

Anyway, Teasdale is on my radar because of the book I'm currently reading -- The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. It's a novel narrated by a poet struggling to write an introduction to an anthology of rhyming poems. And Teasdale is one of his favorite rhyming poets. Like me, she's into forms. And she's from my hometown. We have so much in common, except that I am hoping to not kill myself by overdosing on barbiturates at age 49 like Sara did.

This poem appears first in her 1917 collection Love Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. I think it has a refreshingly positive/hopeful message, one very appropriate for looking ahead to a new year.


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 in 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.

1 comment:

Rachael Barnes said...

Nice. Philip's choir commissioned a piece a few years ago setting some of her poetry for acapella voices.