Again, as always, when the shadows fall,
In that sweet space between the dark and day,
I leave the present and its fretful claims
And seek the dim past where my memories stay.
I dream an old, forgotten, far-off dream,
And think old thoughts and live old scenes anew,
Till suddenly I reach the heart of Spring—
The spring that brought me you!
I see again a little woody lane,
The moonlight rifting golden through the trees;
I hear the plaintive chirp of drowsy bird
Lulled dreamward by a tender, vagrant breeze;
I hold your hand, I look into your eyes,
I touch your lips,—oh, peerless, matchless dower!
Oh, Memory thwarting Time and Space and Death!
Oh, Little Perfect Hour!
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 13, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.
On summer afternoons I sit
Quiescent by you in the park
And idly watch the sunbeams gild
And tint the ash-trees’ bark.
Or else I watch the squirrels frisk
And chaffer in the grassy lane;
And all the while I mark your voice
Breaking with love and pain.
I know a woman who would give
Her chance of heaven to take my place;
To see the love-light in your eyes,
The love-glow on your face!
And there’s a man whose lightest word
Can set my chilly blood afire;
Fulfillment of his least behest
Defines my life’s desire.
But he will none of me, nor I
Of you. Nor you of her. ’Tis said
The world is full of jests like these.—
I wish that I were dead.
From The Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace, 1922), edited by James Weldon Johnson.This poem is in the public domain.