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

  • Jez Brul (2/12/2018 4:58:00 PM)


    A real splendid poem...Even if you reread and reread, the splendor will always be there... (Report) Reply

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  • Susan 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

  • (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

  • (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

  • (2/12/2018 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

  • Edward Kofi Louis (2/12/2018 11:26:00 AM)


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

  • Is It Poetry James 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

  • Rajnish 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

  • Jez Brul (2/9/2018 8:21:00 PM)


    I have read this poem so many times but still enraptured every time I reread this...A poem that will capture every poet's heart... (Report) Reply

  • (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

  • (2/25/2016 3:18:00 PM)


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

  • Bud 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

  • (12/18/2014 8:44:00 AM)


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

  • (12/9/2009 10:35:00 PM)


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

  • (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

  • (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

  • (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

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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



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