Monday, September 28, 2009

I Am Not Yours

The American poet Sarah Teasdale wrote "I Am Not Yours".

I Am Not Yours

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love--put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

Each verse consists of eight syllables and starts with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. The eight syllables form four feet. Thus the poem is in trochaic tetrameter. The second and fourth verses of each stanza rhyme but in the final stanza the rhyme is imperfect because "wind" and "blind" have different vowels.

In the first verse Sarah Teasdale says that she is not lost. By this she means that she has not abandoned her senses and lost her direction. She has control over her situation. However, she expresses that she wants to be lost. She uses the beautiful imagery of a candle lit at noon and a snowflake in the sea.

She acknowledges that her man loves her and sees the good in him. At the same time, she is unsatisfied because she does not feel sure about him. She seeks more from the relationship.

In the final stanza, she asks him to immerse her in love and overwhelm her senses. She wants to love him with all her heart. If she can do so, this will be the equivalent to a person who is deaf and blind. In other words, she will not wish to hear negative comments nor be able to see negative qualities in her man. This reminds us of the saying "Love is blind".

In the final two verses we have the images of a tempest and a taper in a rushing wind. The tempest represents love and the taper is the writer who wishes to be swept away with love. If the tempest puts out the candle, she has lost her senses and become lost as she wishes to be. However, the tone of the poem indicates that it may never happen because the passion and romance that she seeks is lacking.

The poem "I Am Not Yours" is very expressive. The images of a snowflake, candle and tempest make the poem memorable. The use of repetition is also very effective. This repetition is evident is verses three and four: "Lost as a candle lit at noon, Lost as a snowflake in the sea". They also lend to the poem a musical quality which has made it popular in the world of English poetry.

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