Thursday, February 14, 2013

On a Shining Hill

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

For Valentine’s Day, here is a lovely poem that my step-daughter chose and read for us at the blessing ceremony for my husband and me in a 13th century church in England in 2001. It was written by Sara Teasdale, a poet of the Chicago Renaissance who won the forerunner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1918.
Sara Teasdale received public admiration for her well-crafted lyrical poetry which centered on a woman's changing perspectives on beauty, love, and death. Many of Teasdale's poems chart developments in her own life, from her experiences as a sheltered young woman in St. Louis, to those as a successful yet increasingly uneasy writer in New York City, to a depressed and disillusioned person who would commit suicide in 1933. Although many later critics would not consider Teasdale a major poet, she was popular in her lifetime with both the public and critics. She won the first Columbia Poetry Prize in 1918, a prize that would later be renamed the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
The Tree of Song

I sang my songs for the rest,
For you I am still;
The tree of my song is bare
On its shining hill.

For you came like a lordly wind,
And the leaves were whirled
Far as forgotten things
Past the rim of the world.

The tree of my song stands bare
Against the blue --
I gave my songs to the rest,
Myself to you.

Sarah Teasdale


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