Friday, January 29, 2010

Poetry for the Dead of Winter

Before Sylvia Plath there was Sara Teasdale whose growing debilitating health led her to suicide:

In 1930 . . . She contracts pneumonia on her second trip and returns home grievously ill. Her resultant debility contributes to her increasing disinterest in life. (Final Drafts, p. 146)

Here is a selection from her poetry:

Serene descent, as a red leaf's descending
When there is neither wind nor noise of rain,
But only autumn air and the unending
Drawing of all things to the earth again.

So be it, let the snow fall deep and cover
All that was drunken once with light and air.
The earth will not regret her tireless lover,
Nor he awake to know she does not care.

—“Epitaph” by Sara Teasdale, who committed suicide at age thirty-eight on this day in 1933

Final Drafts: suicides of world-famous authors by Mark Seinfelt. Prometheus Books. 1999

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