Only in Sleep

  • Only in sleep I see their faces,
  • Children I played with when I was a child,
  • Louise comes back with her brown hair braided,
  • Annie with ringlets warm and wild.
  • Only in sleep Time is forgotten —
  • What may have come to them, who can know?
  • Yet we played last night as long ago,
  • And the doll-house stood at the turn of the stair.
  • The years had not sharpened their smooth round faces,
  • I met their eyes and found them mild —
  • Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
  • And for them am I too a child?

Sara Teasdale (1884–1933) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a wealthy and well­-respected family. In poor health all her life, she became one of America’s most popular poets, much admired for her brief, graceful love poetry. Courted by her fellow poet Vachel Lindsay, she chose instead to marry Ernest Filsinger. The couple moved to the Upper West Side of New York shortly after their marriage in 1914 and lived there together until she divorced him in 1929. In England, while working on a biography of Christina Rossetti, she contracted chronic pneumonia. She returned to New York and her health continued to deteriorate. On January 29, 1933, she took an overdose of sleeping pills and committed suicide. She was 48.

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