Flame and Shadow

Author: Sara Teasdale

IX the Unchanging

Sun-swept beaches with a light wind blowing
From the immense blue circle of the sea, And the soft thunder where long waves whiten —
These were the same for Sappho as for me.

Two thousand years — much has gone by forever,
Change takes the gods and ships and speech of men — But here on the beaches that time passes over
The heart aches now as then.

June Night

Oh Earth, you are too dear to-night,
How can I sleep while all around Floats rainy fragrance and the far
Deep voice of the ocean that talks to the ground?

Oh Earth, you gave me all I have,
I love you, I love you, — oh what have I That I can give you in return —
Except my body after I die?

"Like Barley Bending"

Like barley bending
In low fields by the sea, Singing in hard wind

Like barley bending
And rising again, So would I, unbroken,
Rise from pain;

So would I softly,
Day long, night long, Change my sorrow
Into song.

"Oh Day of Fire and Sun"

Oh day of fire and sun,
Pure as a naked flame, Blue sea, blue sky and dun
Sands where he spoke my name;

Laughter and hearts so high
That the spirit flew off free, Lifting into the sky
Diving into the sea;

Oh day of fire and sun
Like a crystal burning, Slow days go one by one,
But you have no returning.

"I Thought of You"

I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea — We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.

On the Dunes

If there is any life when death is over,
These tawny beaches will know much of me, I shall come back, as constant and as changeful
As the unchanging, many-colored sea.

If life was small, if it has made me scornful,
Forgive me; I shall straighten like a flame In the great calm of death, and if you want me
Stand on the sea-ward dunes and call my name.


I knew you thought of me all night,
I knew, though you were far away;
I felt your love blow over me
As if a dark wind-riven sea
Drenched me with quivering spray.

There are so many ways to love
And each way has its own delight —
Then be content to come to me
Only as spray the beating sea
Drives inland through the night.

If Death Is Kind

Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning,
We will come back to earth some fragrant night, And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.

We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long gentle thunder of the sea, Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.


Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Flame and Shadow

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Flame and Shadow

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Sara Teasdale, "IX the Unchanging," Flame and Shadow, ed. Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934 and trans. Gordon, Thomas in Flame and Shadow (New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1916), Original Sources, accessed October 3, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KPUGYZ43WEI7KV8.

MLA: Teasdale, Sara. "IX the Unchanging." Flame and Shadow, edited by Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934, and translated by Gordon, Thomas, in Flame and Shadow, Vol. 22, New York, A. L. Burt Company, 1916, Original Sources. 3 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KPUGYZ43WEI7KV8.

Harvard: Teasdale, S, 'IX the Unchanging' in Flame and Shadow, ed. and trans. . cited in 1916, Flame and Shadow, A. L. Burt Company, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 3 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KPUGYZ43WEI7KV8.