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

Countee Cullen, "The Spark" (1927)

The Spark

STAMP hard, be sure
We leave no spark
That may allure
This placid dark.
At last we learn
That love is cruel;
Fire will not burn
Lacking fuel.

Here, take your heart,
The whole of it;
I want no part,
No smallest bit.
And this is mine?
You took scant care;
My heart could shine;
No glaze was there.

Young lips hold wine
The fair world over;
New heads near mine
Will dent the clover;
We need not pine
Now this is over.

Now love is dead
We might be friends;
’Tis best instead
To say all ends,
And when we meet
Pass quickly by;
Oh, speed your feet,
And so will I.

I know a man
Thought a spark was dead
That flamed and ran
A brighter red,
And burned the roof
Above his head.