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

Countee Cullen, "If Love be Staunch" (1925)

If love be staunch, call mountains brittle;
Love is a thing will live
So long, my dear,—oh, just the little
While water stays in a sieve.

Yea, love is deathless as the day
Whose death the stars reveal;
And love is loyal all the way,
If treachery be leal.

Beyond the shadow of a doubt,
No thing is sweet as love,
But, oh, the bitterness spewed out
Of the heart at the end thereof!

Beyond all cavil or complaint,
Love’s ways are double-dyed;
Beneath the surplice of a saint
The cloven hooves are spied.
Whom yesterday love rhymed his sun
Today he names a star;
When the course of another day is run,
What will he say you are?

Published in The Crisis, October 1925

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