Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things;
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell;
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And, for the Spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Give all you have for loveliness;
Buy it, and never count the cost!
For one white, singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost;
And for a breath of ecstasy,
Give all you have been, or could be.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sara Teasdale's poem Barter


  1. harold says:

    it will make us happy to know this poem and i will share this to other thank you for sharing

  2. Michael David says:

    “Barter” is the favorite poem of my life. I have recited it many times. Sometimes I recite it when
    I run. “…Spend all you have for loveliness. Buy it and never count the cost, For one white shining hour of peace spent many a year of strfe well lost, And for a breath of ectasy Give all you have been or could be.” Thank you Sara Teasdale.

  3. mb says:

    I’ve kept a copy of this poem in my wallet for over 20 years. It’s a reminder (to me) of what’s really important in this life.

  4. A.W.Aldahri says:

    This poem giving pleasure to the sense. We should avail ourselvesof these gifts. We should enjoy ourselves in the lap of nature. We should buy happiness at any cost. We hsould not feel sorry if we gain inward happiness at the cost of worldly success.

  5. Kathryn says:

    When I was in high school in Puerto Rico almost 50 years ago, we had to memorize a poem by an American poet. I chose “Life has loveliness to sell…” I recited it with all of the passion of youth, but it is still my very favorite poem.

  6. Monica says:

    I was taught this poem by my english teacher in the 10th grade. When I came accrossed it, I just had to smile. I still remember it word for word… Time has a way of allowing you to understand the deeper meaning of things… What a great piece of work this poem is!!!

  7. Amanda says:

    This poem is beautifully written. Sarah Teasdale could not have chosen a better way to describe all of the wonders of life. “Blue waves whitened on a cliff, soaring fire that sways and sings.” It gives me chills. Spend all you have for the beauties of life and never count the cost! The last 2 lines of the poem are so moving:
    “And for a breath of ecstasy,
    Give all you have been, or could be.”
    Give all of yourself to obtain the tiniest bit of extreme happiness. I believe everyone should live their lives in such a manner and enjoy all of the beauties and wonders in life to the fullest. If you are in to classical music, the poem Barter in SSA format is absolutely breathtaking and if you get a chance you should listen to it. It really brings the poem to life. I feel that it brings out the poem’s most important messages.

  8. Fauna says:

    lovely little poem, of the wonders of the world

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