My Eyes Caught Light From Yours

Sara Teasdale, 1925

September Midnight

By Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
 
Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.
 
The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.
 
Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.
 
Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.
 

It is no great mystery to whom Teasdale was dedicating the sonnet below.  Teasdale married Ernst Filsinger in 1914 and she would receive the most critical acclaim and publishing success during her 15 year marriage to him.   Teasdale was a romantic and at least for a while E was her muse, but in time they drifted apart, her  physical and mental health declined and the two of them divorced in 1929.  She lived largely as an invalid and a recluse until her death in 1933.   

We have been experiencing beautiful summer like days throughout September, with the warmth lingering a bit longer before the seriousness of fall and winter begin.  As a young boy I loved this time of year as it seemed like there were a plethora of flying insects making their last dash before the first frost, and endless possibilities to chase and temporarily capture them with a net and empty mayonnaise jar with nail holes in the top so that I might study them a bit before letting them go.  Do you have particular memories of warm fall days from your childhood?  


To E

by Sara Teasdale  1884-1933
 

The door was opened and I saw you there
And for the first time heard you speak my name.
Then like the sun your sweetness overcame
My shy and shadowy mood; I was aware
That joy was hidden in your happy hair,
And that for you love held no hint of shame;
My eyes caught light from yours, within whose flame
Humor and passion have an equal share.

How many times since then have I not seen
Your great eyes widen when you talk of love,
And darken slowly with a fair desire;
How many times since then your soul has been
Clear to my gaze as curving skies above,
Wearing like them a raiment made of fire.