Advice to A Girl | A Poem by Sara Teasdale

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Advice to A Girl – Poem Recitation

Advice To A Girl – The Poem

No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed;
Lay that on your heart,
My young angry dear;
This truth, this hard and precious stone,
Lay it on your hot cheek,
Let it hide your tear.
Hold it like a crystal
When you are alone
And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.
Long, look long and you will be blessed:
No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed.

~ by Sara Teasdale

Advice to A Girl – The Background Story

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Sara Teasdale was a very famous American poet, having won many awards during her time. She got married at the age of 30 to a man who loved her poetry.  Even after her marriage she always remained lonely because her husband, Ernst Filsinger was always away for work. She even sought divorce without her husband’s knowledge. At the age of 48, she committed suicide.

This poem is also a good reflection of loneliness. The advice that she gives to a girl that “No one worth possessing Can be quite possessed”, represents the loss of hope that the one who is worthy of possession cannot be possessed. Maybe like her husband, who was a good man but she couldn’t quite possess him.

Read more about Sara Teasdale here.

Types of Relationship Advice You After Your Break-Ups

  • “C’mon, move-on now! You know what? He never really deserved you. Also, I never quite liked him. But since you were dating him, never got courage enough to say this.” Isn’t this what we often tell our friends after a break-up?
    It is just so important to have your best friend’s support when you are going through tough times.
  • “What? Don’t act like this is the end of the world. Now dress-up, there is a really electric concert happening tonight. We just gotta go there. Plus, he wasn’t the last guy on earth. You need to go out, look around, the grass outside is still pretty green.”
    It is so important to get over the toxicity of old relationships and keep moving.
  • “So, what are you planning? I suggest you move far from the place your ex lives, that way you won’t see him and it won’t hurt. Unfriend him on all your social media accounts, return the gifts, delete the pictures, just erase all his memories.”
    Maybe you won’t hurt so much this way. But on your sibling’s advice, you do this. But don’t you still end up spending the whole night stalking your ex, reliving the pain.
  • “You are so naïve. You have no idea how the world is. You seem to like every other person you meet. Next time before falling for a person at least make sure he meets me. These are experienced eyes. I would know in a moment if that person is right or not. Come on now, I have cooked your favorite dish.”
    You know these words make no sense, whatsoever. But when you think for a moment, you realize you are so lucky to have your parents. Even if you would have made the biggest mistake in life or committed the biggest crime, they will still hug you and understand your viewpoint.
  • Then there is this advice you give yourself. “I know he didn’t deserve me. I need to move away from him. I need to get over him. I don’t know how to judge people. But when it all began, wasn’t this love. A love that wasn’t dependent on how he felt for me. Wasn’t that merely my feeling, a feeling independent of him. Wasn’t it just my feeling? Why should it just change because of certain events or his feelings?”
    It is really important that you realize, the feeling was yours.

Now there are two options. One, you tell yourself a lie that it was never ‘true -love’ or you deserve better, just like others tell you to do. Two, like others say, it is more important to love yourself before others. Then, start loving yourself. Be honest with yourself. Accept your truth honestly. The truth, that you loved that person. It would have been good if he could be possessed. But as Sara Teasdale says, those worth possessing can’t quite be possessed. But it’s okay, understand that it was not about his feelings, it was yours. Start giving more respect to your emotions. Love your feelings without expectation.

Advice to A Girl – The Poem Analysis

This is a short one-paragraph poem with just one piece of advice that one’s worth possessing can’t quite be possessed.  The poem is an advice to the people going through heartbreak.

The words “young angry self” indicate that the speaker is a young woman, most likely in her teenage years. She is having difficulty dealing with the issue but is very blunt in her opinion, and can’t quite hide it.

Advice to A Girl – Form, Structure, & Meter

  • The first two lines of the poem are ‘refrain’. They repeat in the end as well. They also happen to be the main point, i.e. the advice she wants to give to the girls.
  • The short structure of the poem and the repetition of the main lines show the importance of the advice to the readers. The brevity of the poem adds to its intensity.
  • Sara Teasdale makes extensive use of metaphors and similes.
    “This truth, this hard and precious stone”. In this line, she uses stone as a metaphor for the truth that he is worthy and unattainable.
    “Hold it like a crystal”. In this line and the following lines crystal is used as a simile.
  • The first four lines follow a rhyming scheme of A-B-C-A. And the last three lines follow A-B-A.
    There is also a couplet in between the poem, i.e.
    “When you are alone
    And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.”

advice to a girl by sara teasdale
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1 Comment

  1. Such experiences wait for all of us in our lives, unfortunately, and they’re frightening and bitter. Neither the possessing person, nor the “possessioned” person can survive such attempts with a healthy soul: they by no means, get hurt. Earlier I didn’t read the poetess’ biography. It proves for me, that she went through the hell, by this suffering she could write the poem by such dramatic power. Thank you for sharing it here. 🙏🙂

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