When I Die

When I die my song shall be
Crooning of the summer breeze;
When I die my shroud shall be
Leaves plucked from the maple trees;
On a couch as green as moss
And a bed as soft as down
I shall sleep and dream my dream
Of a poet’s laurel crown.

When I die my star shall drop
Singing like a nightingale;
When I die my soul shall rise
Where the lyre-strings never fail;
In the rose my blood shall lie,
In the violet the smile,
And the moonbeams thousand strong
Past my grave each night shall file.

From Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen. This poem is in the public domain.