Sara Teasdale

(August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933 / Missouri / United States)

Barter

Poem by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like the curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.


Comments about Barter by Sara Teasdale

  • Evonne Duggan (4/12/2019 12:08:00 AM)

    I am now 90 years old and learned this poem in the 7th grade. I have never forgotten it and love it still.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Alice Sessions (3/12/2019 12:18:00 PM)

    We sang this in grade school. It helped form a life phylosophy. Stll loved at 88 years old(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Nicole SettimiNicole Settimi (2/13/2019 2:03:00 PM)

    ' Soaring fire that sways and sings, ' - best line.

    The arrangement of this is lovely. I love the imagery and metaphors, here. Great write.

    Xx NDS(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (2/12/2018 4:47:00 PM)

    She makes writing seem so easy that all you have to do is put a pen in your hand and beautiful words and images and wisdom will flow out onto the page as easy as water flows downhill.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Marieta MaglasMarieta Maglas (2/12/2018 1:04:00 PM)

    She compares this kind of selling with a barter transaction.'Blue waves whitened on a cliff' make us think of purity, especially because the children are mentioned immediately after that. The cosmos has a perfect, eternal equilibrium. 'Loveliness' is a 'white singing ', the purity of voice necessary for peace. This poem is a pleading for love.Voted 10.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Marieta MaglasMarieta Maglas (2/12/2018 1:03:00 PM)

    The fire creates earth (the ash) , the earth absorbs the water, the water quenches the fire and nourishes the wood, the wood feeds the fire and creates the oxygen by photosynthesis. The pine is a biblical, evergreen tree. Sara Teasdale wants to prove that love is precious and not for sale.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Marieta MaglasMarieta Maglas (2/12/2018 1:02:00 PM)

    By using the alliteration, the personification, or simile, Sara Teasdale wrote a splendid poem in iambic tetrameter, a poem about love. The primordial elements used by the poetess are water ('blue waves') , fire ('soaring fire') , air (breath of ecstasy') , and earth ('scent of pine trees') are energies or transitions for the cosmogonic dimension of love.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (2/12/2018 11:26:00 AM)

    Life has loveliness to sell! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • James MclainJames Mclain (2/12/2018 9:16:00 AM)

    3: 16
    My favorite poet
    who struggled with mental illness,
    untill she took her life
    as did so many poets back then.. James McLain(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (2/12/2018 6:03:00 AM)

    We, the ordinary mortals, can learn a great deal from this poem- A practical guide. Thanks.
    For one white singing hour of peace
    Count many a year of strife well lost,(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (8/7/2016 5:54:00 AM)

    And for a breath of ecstasy
    Give all you have been, or could be.
    Nice summation and inference. Loved the poem.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Hannah Martin (2/25/2016 3:18:00 PM)

    I think this is one of the most beautiful poems in the world!(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Bud TaylorBud Taylor (12/10/2015 6:57:00 PM)

    I learned from my English teacher that Sara inspires about rejuvenation in Scent of pine trees in the rain(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (12/18/2014 8:44:00 AM)

    Great poetic expression on life and it so marvelous.(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Stefan Weicberger (12/9/2009 10:35:00 PM)

    A delightfully skillful expression of sentiment in popular visions of nature and human sensitivities.(Report)Reply

    15 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Bonnie Collins (12/28/2007 11:31:00 PM)

    This is a fine piece to express, grab happiness while you can, for one hour's happiness is worth more than a lifetime of lonliness. Very touching, it is one of my favoirties of Sara Teasdale.

    Bonnie Collins(Report)Reply

    20 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Shelley L Baxter-stanley (4/18/2007 9:40:00 PM)

    Another Amazing, Amazing poem by a Brilliant poet! words to live by 'Spend all you have for loveliness,
    Buy it and never count the cost;
    For one white singing hour of peace
    Count many a year of strife well lost,
    And for a breath of ecstasy
    Give all you have been, or could be. '
    Loving this poem...so happy I read it today as I forgot about how great it really was!
    =Shelley=(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Shelley B. Keats (1/31/2005 10:50:00 PM)

    not up to Ms. Teasdale high standards. see: Thomas Love Beddoes, 'If there were dreams to sell...' and Emerson's 'Give all to love...' too deriative.(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    14 person did not like.
Read all 18 comments »

Barter Score Card

User Rating:
3,8 / 5 (51 votes)18



What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: star, music, beautiful, children, rain, peace, fire, lost, night, life, child, tree



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003