Countee Cullen, "Sweethearts" (1923)
But speak no word by day;
One is a cedar trim and tall,
His love a willow small.
The one stands proud with head held high,
The other, coyly shy;
The cedar's limbs are hard and strong;
The willow's voice is song.
By day when she would love to talk
Across the garden walk,
The cedar's rude as rude can be,
Pretending not to see;
And then the willow turns away,
And sulks throughout the day;
Sometimes she gives a little sigh,
And once I saw her cry.
At night when our harsh words are said,
And I am in my bed,
I hear in sweetest harmonies
The language of those trees.
I find the ivied balcony,
Where through the gloom I see
Two sweethearts in the yard below
Whose speech all lovers know.
Published in The Crisis, December 1923