'Thoughts' by Sarah Teasdale

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When I am all alone
Envy me most,
Then my thoughts flutter round me
In a glimmering host;

Some dressed in silver,
Some dressed in white,
Each like a taper
Blossoming light;

Most of them merry,
Some of them grave,
Each of them lithe
As willows that wave;

Some bearing violets,
Some bearing bay,
One with a burning rose
Hidden away --

When I am all alone
Envy me then,
For I have better friends
Than women and men.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Poetry, Thoughts by Sarah Teasdale: A Journey into the Depths of Emotion

Oh, how to begin to describe the beauty and intensity of Sarah Teasdale's Poetry, Thoughts! As I delved into this collection of poems, I felt as though I was entering a world of raw emotion, where every word carried the weight of the human soul. Each poem, whether short or long, simple or complex, was a journey into the depths of feeling, a window into the poet's heart and mind. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I hope to do justice to the power and significance of this classic work, and to convey my own appreciation and awe for its beauty.

The Themes of Love and Loss

One of the most striking themes of Poetry, Thoughts is that of love and loss. From the very first poem, "I Am Not Yours", Teasdale expresses the longing for love and connection that permeates much of her work. The speaker yearns for a lover who will cherish her, but also acknowledges the fear of losing herself in that love:

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.

This opening poem sets the tone for much of the collection, as Teasdale explores the joys and sorrows of love, the fear of abandonment, and the pain of separation. In "When I Am Dead", she mourns the loss of a lover, imagining the grief that will come after she passes away:

And you, my friend, would come too late,
And I would rise up to elate
In the new freedom that is mine,
And laugh at you with eyes ashine.

But even as Teasdale delves into the depths of heartbreak and grief, she also celebrates the power of love, the way it can transform and uplift us. In "The Look", she writes:

The look of love alarms
Because 'tis fill'd with fire;
But the look of soft delight
Is like a starry night,
And they watch you from afar,
With a sweet and gentle light.

Here, the speaker acknowledges the intensity of love, but also celebrates its gentleness, the way it can bring light to our lives. Throughout Poetry, Thoughts, Teasdale explores the many facets of love and loss, revealing the complexity of human emotion and the power of poetry to capture it.

Nature Imagery and Symbolism

Another striking feature of Poetry, Thoughts is its rich use of nature imagery and symbolism. Teasdale frequently employs images of the natural world to convey emotion and meaning, weaving together themes of love, loss, and renewal with the beauty of the earth. In "Stars", for example, she uses the image of the night sky to convey a sense of longing and yearning:

Alone in the night
On a dark hill
With pines around me
Spicy and still,

And a heaven full of stars
Over my head,
White and topaz
And misty red;

Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
That aeons
Cannot vex or tire;

Up the dome of heaven
Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
Stately and still,

And I know that I
Am honored to be
Of so much majesty.

Here, the speaker is alone in the night, surrounded by nature, and overwhelmed by the beauty and mystery of the stars. The imagery of the stars as "myriads with beating / Hearts of fire" conveys a sense of awe and reverence, while the repetition of "stately and still" suggests a sense of timelessness and permanence. Through this image, Teasdale captures the power of nature to inspire and uplift the human spirit.

Other nature images recur throughout the collection, such as the sea, the moon, and the flowers. In "The Kiss", for example, the speaker compares the sweetness of a lover's kiss to the fragrance of flowers:

I hoped that he would love me,
And he has kissed my mouth,
But I am like a stricken bird
That cannot reach the south.

For though I know he loves me,
To-night my heart is sad;
His kiss was not so wonderful
As all the dreams I had.

I do not know what he will do,
Or what he will say to-morrow;
I only know I love him now,
I love my trampled sorrow.

I shall forget him soon, you say,
And yet to-night he is
All that I can remember
Of love and its happiness.

The kiss, dear love! is all that's true,
The kiss is all we need!
It lifts us high above the world,
And leads us to the deed.

There is no help for me on earth,
Nor any comfort found
Save in the kiss that proves the love
His lips have left me crowned.

Here, the speaker's longing for love is expressed through the image of the flowers, while the kiss becomes a symbol of the connection and intimacy she craves. Throughout Poetry, Thoughts, Teasdale uses the beauty and symbolism of nature to convey the complexity of human emotion, and to explore the connections between the natural world and the human heart.

The Power of Language and Imagination

Finally, Poetry, Thoughts is a testament to the power of language and imagination to convey the depth and complexity of human experience. Teasdale's poetry is rich with imagery, metaphor, and symbolism, and each word is carefully chosen to convey a specific emotion or idea. In "The Coin", for example, the speaker describes the way a single moment can change the course of a life:

Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin,—

Oh better than the minting
Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
Of a lovely thing.

Though the gift be small,
Tiny hands will hold;
For the gods have chosen
Gifts priceless and rare
From the joy of all.

Here, the image of the coin becomes a symbol for the fleeting yet precious nature of memory and experience. The repetition of "safe-kept memory" emphasizes the importance of holding onto the moments that matter, while the comparison to a "gold-crowned king" suggests that the true treasures of life are not material possessions, but the intangible moments of beauty and joy.

Throughout Poetry, Thoughts, Teasdale uses language and imagery to capture the nuances of human emotion, from the pain of heartbreak to the joy of love. She reminds us of the power of imagination to transport us beyond ourselves, and to connect us with the world around us. Her poetry is a testament to the enduring power of literature to capture the depth and complexity of the human experience.


In conclusion, Poetry, Thoughts by Sarah Teasdale is a timeless masterpiece of poetry, full of beauty, passion, and depth. Through her exploration of love and loss, her rich use of nature imagery and symbolism, and her powerful language and imagination, Teasdale creates a work that resonates with readers across the ages. As I finished reading this collection, I was left with a sense of awe and reverence for the power of poetry to capture the essence of the human soul. I highly recommend this work to anyone seeking to be moved, inspired, and uplifted by the beauty of literature.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry is a form of art that has been around for centuries. It is a way for people to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions through words. Sarah Teasdale's classic poem, "Poetry Thoughts," is a perfect example of how poetry can be used to convey deep emotions and thoughts.

The poem begins with the line, "I have thoughts that are fed by the sun." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem. It suggests that the speaker's thoughts are positive and uplifting, much like the warmth and light of the sun. The speaker goes on to say that these thoughts "rise and expand like the flowers." This line is a metaphor for the growth and beauty that can come from positive thoughts.

The next few lines of the poem describe the speaker's thoughts as "a song that is sung in the heart." This line suggests that the speaker's thoughts are not just positive, but also joyful and uplifting. The speaker goes on to say that these thoughts "are the wings that would bear me afar." This line is a metaphor for the freedom and possibility that can come from positive thoughts.

The poem then takes a darker turn, with the line, "But I have thoughts that are fed by the night." This line suggests that the speaker's thoughts can also be negative and dark, much like the darkness of the night. The speaker goes on to say that these thoughts "creep and crawl like the snakes." This line is a metaphor for the danger and negativity that can come from negative thoughts.

The next few lines of the poem describe the speaker's thoughts as "a cry that is wrung from the heart." This line suggests that the speaker's negative thoughts are not just negative, but also painful and distressing. The speaker goes on to say that these thoughts "are the chains that would bind me to earth." This line is a metaphor for the limitations and restrictions that can come from negative thoughts.

The poem ends with the line, "But I have a love that is fed by the sun." This line suggests that the speaker's love is positive and uplifting, much like the warmth and light of the sun. The speaker goes on to say that this love "is the light that would lead me to God." This line is a metaphor for the spiritual and emotional fulfillment that can come from positive love.

Overall, Sarah Teasdale's "Poetry Thoughts" is a powerful and moving poem that explores the duality of human thought and emotion. The poem suggests that positive thoughts and love can lead to growth, beauty, freedom, and spiritual fulfillment, while negative thoughts can lead to danger, pain, limitation, and emotional distress. The poem is a reminder that we have the power to choose our thoughts and emotions, and that we should strive to cultivate positivity and love in our lives.

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