Poems About Life: Main Homepage   Nature Poetry and the Human World, link. Nature scene of rocks, plants and water. Identified as Lake Saimaa in Finland.


by Sara Teasdale

I went out on an April morning
All alone, for my heart was high.
I was a child of the shining meadow,
I was a sister of the sky.

There in the windy flood of morning
Longing lifted its weight from me,
Lost as a sob in the midst of cheering,
Swept as a sea-bird out to sea.

The New Poetry: An Anthology, 1917. Harriet Monroe, ed.  

Postmodern Confusion
in "Morning" by Sara Teasdale

In the first stanza of this unnerving little poem, the speaker walks out into a spring day and is filled with a positive feeling of connection to nature, as if it is her family. As she tells us, her heart is high and the meadow is shining. But there is also a hint of confusion or contradiction, since she says she is walking out "all alone, for my heart was high" -- and the phrase "all alone" suggests something negative, such as sadness or loneliness.

In its literal meaning, the second stanza seems to describe something positive, as well -- the weight of longing is lifted away. But this stanza is filled with disturbing imagery and, when we reach the last two lines, it almost feels like the poem itself is about to burst out crying.

In fact, the second to the last line -- in which the speaker says the weight of longing was "lost as a sob in the midst of cheering," -- is filled with sadness, loneliness, and despair, as well as a feeling of being overwhelmed by something larger, even while it pretends to be describing something good. The poem intentionally confuses us, allowing the speaker's literal and underlying meanings to contradict each other.

Like the other nature poems on this site, "Morning" communicates a state of mind. It conveys a sense of sadness, despair, and loss of control, with a "windy flood of morning" and a sense of being "swept as a sea-bird out to sea," even though, literally, it is the feeling of weight that is supposedly being swept away.

The poem uses artifice to evoke in us a sense of the speaker's own emotional complexity or confusion. Like the other Teasdale poem on this site, titled "Blue Squills," it packs a lot of psychology into a few lines.

-- Ken Sanes

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