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

Georgia Douglas Johnson, "Afterglow" (1920)

Through you, I entered heaven and hell,
   Knew rapture and despair;
I vaunted o'er the plains of earth
   And scaled each shining stair.
Drank deep the waters of content
   And drained the cup of gall,
Was regal and was impotent,
   Was suzerain and thrall:
Now by reflection's placid pool,
  At evening's tranquil hour,
I smile across the backward way
   And pledge anew, my vow:
For every glancing, golden gleam,
   I offer, gladly, Pain;
And i would give a thousand worlds,
   To live it all again. 

First publishedi n The Crisis, March 1920

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