Rivers to the Sea
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 1915 work is believed to be in the public domain in the US. Please check local restrictions in other geographies.]

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Sara Teasdale


To Ernst


    Part III

    Over the Roofs


      IH chimes set high on the sunny tower
      Ring on, ring on unendingly,
      Make all the hours a single hour,
      For when the dusk begins to flower,
      The man I love will come to me! . . .

      But no, go slowly as you will,
      I should not bid you hasten so,
      For while I wait for love to come,
      Some other girl is standing dumb,
      Fearing her love will go.


      Oh white steam over the roofs, blow high!
      Oh chimes in the tower ring clear and free !
      Oh sun awake in the covered sky,
      For the man I love, loves me I . . .

      Oh drifting steam disperse and die,
      Oh tower stand shrouded toward the south,--
      Fate heard afar my happy cry,
      And laid her finger on my mouth.


      The dusk was blue with blowing mist,
      The lights were spangles in a veil,
      And from the clamor far below
      Floated faint music like a wail.

      It voiced what I shall never speak,
      My heart was breaking all night long,
      But when the dawn was hard and gray,
      My tears distilled into a song.


      I said, "I have shut my heart
      As one shuts an open door,
      That Love may starve therein
      And trouble me no more."

      But over the roofs there came
      The wet new wind of May,
      And a tune blew up from the curb
      Where the street-pianos play.

      My room was white with the sun
      And Love cried out in me,
      "I am strong, I will break your heart
      Unless you set me free."

    A Cry

      OH, there are eyes that he can see,
      And hands to make his hands rejoice,
      But to my lover I must be
      Only a voice.

      Oh, there are breasts to bear his head,
      And lips whereon his lips can lie,
      But I must be till I am dead
      Only a cry.


      How many times we must have met
      Here on the street as strangers do,
      Children of chance we were, who passed
      The door of heaven and never knew.


      SO soon my body will have gone
      Beyond the sound and sight of men,
      And tho' it wakes and suffers now,
      Its sleep will be unbroken then;
      But oh, my frail immortal soul
      That will not sleep forevermore,
      A leaf borne onward by the blast,
      A wave that never finds the shore.

    After Death

      NOW while my lips are living
      Their words must stay unsaid,
      And will my soul remember
      To speak when I am dead?

      Yet if my soul remembered
      You would not heed it, dear,
      For now you must not listen,
      And then you could not hear.


      I SAID, "I will take my life
      And throw it away;
      I who was fire and song
      Will turn to clay."

      "I will lie no more in the night
      With shaken breath,
      I will toss my heart in the air
      To be caught by Death."

      But out of the night I heard,
      Like the inland sound of the sea,
      The hushed and terrible sob
      Of all humanity.

      Then I said, "Oh who am I
      To scorn God to his face?
      I will bow my head and stay
      And suffer with my race."


      I GAVE my first love laughter,
      I gave my second tears,
      I gave my third love silence
      Thru all the years.

      My first love gave me singing,
      My second eyes to see,
      But oh, it was my third love
      Who gave my soul to me.

    On to the next poem.

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