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

Countee Cullen, "En Passant" (1927)

En Passant

IF I was born a liar, lass,
And you were born a jade,
It’s just the way things come to pass,
And men and mice are made.

I tell you love is like the dew
That trembles on the grass;
You’d not believe me, speaking true,
That love is wormwood, lass.

You swear no other lips but mine
Have clung like this to yours,
But lass, I know how such strong wine
Draws bees and flies by scores.

I now voluptuously bask
Where Jack tomorrow will,
And while we kiss, I long to ask,
“What girl goes up that hill?”

You love me for the liar I am;
I love the minx you are;
’Tis heaven we must bless or damn
That shaped us on a par.