When I come down to sleep death's endless night,
The threshold of the unknown dark to cross,
What to me then will be the keenest loss,
When this bright world blurs on my fading sight?
Will it be that no more I shall see the trees
Or smell the flowers or hear the singing birds
Or watch the flashing streams or patient herds?
No, I am sure it will be none of these.
But, ah! Manhattan's sights and sounds, her smells,
Her crowds, her throbbing force, the thrill that comes
From being of her a part, her subtle spells,
Her shining towers, her avenues, her slums—
O God! the stark, unutterable pity,
To be dead, and never again behold my city!
From The Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922) edited by James Weldon Johnson. This poem is in the public domain.
I loved you first: but afterwards your love, Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove. Which owes the other most? My love was long, And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong; I loved and guessed at you, you contrued me And loved me for what might or might not be— Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong. For verily love knows not 'mine' or 'thine'; With separate 'I' and 'thou' free love has done, For one is both and both are one in love: Rich love knows nought of 'thine that is not mine'; Both have the strength and both the length thereof, Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
This poem is in the public domain.