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

Countee Cullen, "Nocturne" (1927)


TELL me all things false are true,⁠
Bitter sweet, that fools are wise;
I will not doubt nor question you;
I am in a mood for lies.

Tell me all things ill turn good;
Thew and sinew will be stronger
Thriving on the deadly food
Life proffers for their hunger.

Paint love lovely, if you will;
Be crafty, sly, deceptive;
Here is fertile land to till,
Sun-seeking, rain-receptive.

Hold my hand and lie to me;
I will not ask you How nor Why;
I see death drawing nigh to me
Out of the corner of my eye.