ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sara Teasdale's "I Am Not Yours"

Updated on April 15, 2019
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Poetry became my passion, after I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962.

Sara Teasdale


Introduction and Text of "I Am Not Yours"

Taking the theme of deep and lasting love, the speaker in Teasdale's "I Am Not Yours" employs the poetic device of hyperbole to convey her emotion. Three riming quatrains using the traditional scheme of ABCB unfold the poem's drama.

(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")

I Am Not Yours

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love—put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

Reading of "I Am Not Yours"


In the hands of a less skilled artist, the love theme of this lyric often trots out a tired cliché, but Teasdale's speaker makes it fresh and new.

First Quatrain: No Romantic Exaggeration

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

The speaker directs her words to her beloved in an extraordinary manner, by claiming that she is not possessed by him and that she has not lost herself in his charms.

While lovers are prone to exaggerate in artistic endeavors the level to which they have become part of their love one, this speaker dramatizes a very different approach.

However, this speaker then changes her direction as she proclaims that even though she is "not lost in [him]," she desires wholeheartedly that she might become so. Thus, she states that she would like to be as is "a candle lit at noon." A candle at noon would barely show light at all as it would meld with the natural sunlight.

The speaker then asserts that she would like to become part of her beloved as "a snowflake in the sea." The oceanic presence of her beloved has engulfed her heart in such as way that she can liken herself to the smallness and malleability of a flake of snow melting in the ocean.

The original claim that she does not belong to the addressee has now been set on its head. Although literally it will always be true that she is not his and she is not lost in him, her desire for that blending has caused her imagination to conjure such a state in a majestic manner of metaphorical supremacy.

Second Quatrain: Total Melding of Body, Mind, Soul

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

The second quatrain confirms that the speaker is, indeed, loved by the target of her desire. As she claims, "I am I," she hungers for annihilation of self, that is, to melt into her lover. Her drama continues the seeking after total blending of body, mind, and spirit with the beloved.

The speaker continues to wish for that complete melding with her lover, as she has shown from the beginning of her drama. She wants to be totally consumed in the love she feels for him: to be "lost [in him] as light is lost in light."

Third Quatrain: Annihilation of Separation

Oh plunge me deep in love—put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

The final quatrain finds the speaker essentially begging for the awareness of her wish to experience complete emersion in her beloved. She pleads, "Oh plunge me deep in love."

The speaker desires to exist so close to her beloved that she has no need to hear or see. His love and affection will be her only awareness and guide. She begs that all her sense awareness become "swept by the tempest of your love."

Again, the speaker returns to the candle metaphor. She wishes to be so completely subsumed in him that she becomes a "taper in a rushing wind." No longer is there a separation between the two lovers.

Transcending the Tired, the Obnoxious, the Clichéd

The theme of this love lyric is a common one for lovers; pop lyrics use it over-abundantly. The idea of becoming so consumed by love that one wishes to melt into one's lover has long been a cliché; the serious artist who employs this theme works to dramatize it in fresh, original ways.

That freshness is achieved by Teasdale in her opening remarks, "I am not yours, not lost in you," and her use of light as the substance to which she compares her desired union with her beloved. She avoids all of the tired and obnoxious sexual connotations that usually appear in portrayals of this theme. This lyric's elocution remains so elevated that it could be interpreted as a devotee's prayer to the Divine.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)