Can anyone tell me the meaning or the summary for the poem "Change" by Sara Teasdale?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Sara Teasdale's "Change," there exists an ambiguity as to whether the speaker has literally aged, or her heart and spirit have lost the innocence and "joie de vivre" that they had heretofore.  For, there seems to be a suggestion that the speaker has suffered some tragedy in life, some disappointment, or some realization of the truth of life:

Turn from me now, but alway hear

The muted laughter in the dew

Of that one year of youth we had,

The only youth we ever knew--

Turn from me now, or you will see

What other years have done to me.

The line "Of that one year of youth we had" connotes that the speaker and her lover have had only a brief time of romantic bliss in which she had the

eyes that love had made as bright

As the trembling stars of the summer night

After this one year, realities of economic struggle, loss, or some other hardship have mitigated the estactic love of the speaker.  Because she still loves the person she addresses, she asks him to turn from her now, desiring that he remember only the one year of love that was untarnished.  This theme of longing is characteristic of Sara Teasdale.



coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the poem 'Change' by Sara Teasdale, the poet is remembering the past and is not relishing the idea of comparing it to the present. She fills the poem with image of freshness and life, such as dew and laughter. She asks her 'visitor' to remember her as she was then and does not want them to see what the passing years have done to her in terms of looks and experiences - the years in between have aged her and she feels sad. She asks her visitor to turn away in case his memories of her beauty are spoiled. The poem has an atmosphere of regret and a poignant tone as it reflects upon the passing of time. One of the pom's themes is the idea of aging - and in particular how it affects a woman's self-esteem and perception of herself.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In this poem, a woman, is meeting someone who she once loved, once had an affair with.  It appears that they have not seen each other in a while.

She is telling him that he should not look at her now because she is not as beautiful as she was back when they had their affair.  She wants him not to look at her now because she wants him to remember her the way she used to be back when they were in love.

So this poem is about the sadness of growing older.  It is about how some people feel that the younger version of themselves was better than the older version.

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