Over the Roofs

By Sara Teasdale 1884–1933 Sara Teasdale

Oh chimes set high on the sunny tower   
    Ring on, ring on unendingly,
Make all the hours a single hour,   
For when the dusk begins to flower,   
    The man I love will come to me! ...

But no, go slowly as you will,
    I should not bid you hasten so,   
For while I wait for love to come,   
Some other girl is standing dumb,
    Fearing her love will go.


Oh white steam over the roofs, blow high!   
    Oh chimes in the tower ring clear and free!   
Oh sun awake in the covered sky,
    For the man I love, loves me! ...

Oh drifting steam disperse and die,
    Oh tower stand shrouded toward the south,—
Fate heard afar my happy cry,
    And laid her finger on my mouth.


The dusk was blue with blowing mist,   
    The lights were spangles in a veil,   
And from the clamor far below
    Floated faint music like a wail.

It voiced what I shall never speak,
    My heart was breaking all night long,
But when the dawn was hard and gray,   
    My tears distilled into a song.


I said, “I have shut my heart   
    As one shuts an open door,
That Love may starve therein   
    And trouble me no more.”

But over the roofs there came
    The wet new wind of May,
And a tune blew up from the curb
    Where the street-pianos play.

My room was white with the sun   
    And Love cried out to me,
“I am strong, I will break your heart   
    Unless you set me free.”

Originally published in Poetry, March 1914.

Source: Poetry (March 1914).


This poem originally appeared in the March 1914 issue of Poetry magazine

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March 1914
 Sara  Teasdale


Sara Teasdale received public admiration for her well-crafted lyrical poetry which centered on a woman's changing perspectives on beauty, love, and death. Many of Teasdale's poems chart developments in her own life, from her experiences as a sheltered young woman in St. Louis, to those as a successful yet increasingly uneasy writer in New York City, to a depressed and disillusioned person who would commit suicide in 1933. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Love, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated


Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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