African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Countee Cullen, "And When I Think" (1927)

And When I Think

(For one just dead)

AND when I think how that dark throat of thine,
Irreconcilably stilled, lies mute,
A golden honey-hive robbed of its fruit,
A wassail cup in which there is no wine;
Thy sweet, high treble hushed that never mine
Auricular delight again shall suit
To wild bird warblings, or liken to a flute
That with wild tremors agitates the spine;
Then though the legion-throated spring cry out,
Though raucously the summer whirl about
Me all her scent and color in one shout
Of pride, though autumn clamor at my ear,
Or winter crackle round me, crystal-clear,
While memory persists, I do not hear.

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