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By Sara Teasdale

I


Oh 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.


       II


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! …


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.


       III


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.


       IV


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 to me,

“I am strong, I will break your heart   

    Unless you set me free.”


Originally published in Poetry, March 1914.

Source: Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2004)

  • Living
  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Sara Teasdale
Sara Teasdale was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She won fame in her day as a sensitive soul whose simple, poignant poems addressed beauty and loss. Teasdale’s Love Songs received the first Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1918. See More By This Poet

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