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The Romance of Sara Teasdale (Filsinger)
Sara Teasdale-Poet and Lonely Woman
Buried Love-The Romance of Sara Teasdale
I Am Not Yours performed by the Appalachian State University Singers
At Night by Sara Teasdale
There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale
When I am dead and over me bright April Shakes out her rain-drenched hair, Though you should lean above me broken-hearted, I shall not care. ...
“I have come to bury love
Beneath a tree,
In the forest tall and black
Where none can see….”
But Sara Teasdale never could bury love and sought it all her life. Finally she could no longer live without the love she craved and took her own life on January 29, 1933.
There is little new to be said of Sara Teasdale and her legacy as a poet. Many excellent websites exist that tell the life of Ms. Teasdale so I will not do that here. This article is to honor her romantic spirit and her love of love. Sara Teasdale was born into a privileged life that allowed little leniency for the creative mind of the young girl. Her dreams and ambitions of love were hampered by ill health and the strictures of society. Sara turned her romantic leanings into lyrical and flowing poetry and the written word became her vessel to speak of love and longing.
In 1913-1914, Sara was courted by the well known poet Vachel Lindsay. He wrote her passionate letters filled with poetic professions of love and asked her to marry him. Despite her love for him, Sara gave into the prodding of her family and married elsewhere. She was a product of her Victorian upbringing and tried to subdue her passionate nature and channel it into her poetry. Ernst Filsinger, a businessman, became her husband in 1914 and Sara moved to New York City with him to live as a married woman. She remained there until she died in 1933 at the age of forty nine.
Sara wrote the poignant words, "It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise." If she had wed with her heart instead of her mind, she would not have chosen Filsinger. A poet and a businessman do not usually create a cohesive unit. It has been said that Sara and Vachel remained platonic friends and were inspiration for one another’s poetry. But I believe her love for him was a passion that loved forever. When he died from suicide in 1931, she wrote:
In memory of Vachel Lindsay
“Deep in the ages”, you said, “deep in the ages,”
And, “To live in mankind is far more than to live in a
You are deep in the ages, now, deep in the ages,
You whom the world could not break, nor the years tame.
Fly out, fly on, eagle that is not forgotten,
Fly straight to the innermost light, you who loved sun in
Free of the fret, free of the weight of living,
Bravest among the brave, gayest among the wise.
She was never happy with Ernst Filsinger and eventually divorced him. He did not want a divorce and tried to persuade Sara to remain his wife. But in 1929, the marriage was terminated and Sara moved on.
She was still in poor health and it continued to decline. A terrible bout of pneumonia left her weak and discouraged, feeling alone and she became even more reclusive. Sara’s poetry became sadder and more lonely and haunting. She wrote, “…Why am I crying after love?” and one of her last poems is considered to be her epitaph:
“Moon, worn thin to the width of a quill,
In the dawn clouds flying,
How good to go, light into light, and still
Giving light, dying.
Sara’s last book Strange Victory is indicative of her desire to love rather than live. On January 29, 1933 she took an overdose of sleeping pills and fell asleep in a warm bath, never to wake up in this world again.
Sara’s words came true for her as she decided a life without love was not worth living:
“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”
Those of us who love the romantic poetry of Sara Teasdale wish she had been able to follow her own words,
“For I shall learn from flower and leaf,
That color every drop they hold,
To change the lifeless wine of grief
To living gold."
Sara Trevor Teasdale, I hope you found the love you sought here on earth in the arms of Jesus and know He will never leave you.
There Will Come Soft Rains
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
We indeed know that you are gone sweet, sad Sara and miss you and your words of love expressed so gently and beautifully.
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