“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”
- Simonides of Ceos

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"The Long Hill" by Sara Teasdale

American lyric poet, Sara Teasdale, was born in 1884 in Missouri. She published her first poem in a newspaper in 1907 followed by a volume of her poetry later that year. In 1950, science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury published a short story which contained Teasdale's poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains" and Bradbury also used that as his story's title. Many of her poems have been put to music over the years, including "The Long Hill" which was recorded by the band Clifford Grooms in 2013.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Laura Richcreek
Composer: Conner Savoca
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green
Photography: Cagatay Orhan
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for Sara Teasdale
Sara Teasdale's Bio at Poetry Foundation
Comparison of "The Long Hill" and "Up-Hill" by Christina Rossetti
Scanned image of an early printing of the poem courtesy of Google Books

Sara Teasdale, portrait taken July 11, 1919
Photo credit: Wikimedia

"The Long Hill" by Sara Teasdale

I must have passed the crest a while ago
   And now I am going down —
Strange to have crossed the crest and not to know,
   But the brambles were always catching the hem
         of my gown.

All the morning I thought how proud I should be
   To stand there straight as a queen,
Wrapped in the wind and the sun with the world
         under me —
   But the air was dull, there was little I could
         have seen.

It was nearly level along the beaten track
   And the brambles caught in my gown —
But it's no use now to think of turning back,
   The rest of the way will be only going down.

Verses Viewpoint

The team shares their thoughts on this poem
"I found myself looking back at the last 7-13 years and felt that longing, but also a certain relaxed (resigned?) sense of self as I head into the upcoming years. It wasn't a negative feeling, but more of an, 'Ah, so this is it! Okay. I'm alright with this!'" - Laura Richcreek, narrator

"I think it has a feeling of bittersweetness. Sort of a bit of longing for days gone by, but at the same time realizing that the past is gone and one must look ahead. Then there's also a hint of apprehension about what is to come. I suppose it could also be interpreted as a look at aging and maturity too. I think it has so many layers to it despite how short it is. It really is quite a beautiful piece." - J.D. Sutter, director