The Lighted Window

The Lighted Window by Sara Teasdale

He said:
“In the winter dusk
When the pavements were gleaming with rain,
I walked thru a dingy street
Hurried, harassed,
Thinking of all my problems that never are solved.
Suddenly out of the mist, a flaring gas-jet
Shone from a huddled shop.
I saw thru the bleary window
A mass of playthings:
False-faces hung on strings,
Valentines, paper and tinsel,
Tops of scarlet and green,
Candy, marbles, jacks—
A confusion of color
Pathetically gaudy and cheap.
All of my boyhood
Rushed back.
Once more these things were treasures
Wildly desired.
With covetous eyes I looked again at the marbles,
The precious agates, the pee-wees, the chinies—
Then I passed on.


In the winter dusk,
The pavements were gleaming with rain;
There in the lighted window
I left my boyhood.”

As of two days ago, I subscribed to a website that emails you a poem each day by recommendation of my English teacher (along with the rest of his classes), and discovered that it’s actually a pleasant experience to open up my inbox and look forward to the poems each morning. Today, on Saturday the 5th, The Lighted Window by Sara Teasdale was sent out and I honestly really enjoyed this poem. The speaker tells of  wet, winter evening in which they are walking through the streets and feeling rather insignificant. It is presumed that the speaker is a boy, thanks to the beginning line of ‘he said’, alongside the statement that he is leaving his boyhood in the window filled with toys and valentines.

This poem, I would say, is about a man who has grown up too fast or grown up beneath a difficult circumstance. He has very little to look forward to and has a generally bleak expectation of life, even looking into the lit window where toys he once loved or fawned over were resting. He has abandoned his boyhood, rather than leaving it resting on a shelf coated with things in bright, confusing colors. Growing up too fast will do that to a person, as I have figured out from personal experience.

Therefore, try not to grow up too fast and don’t leave your childhood full of wonder and color resting on the shelf in your darkest times of need.