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

Jessie Fauset, "Dead Fires" (1926)

If this is peace, this dead and leaden thing,
Then better far the hateful fret, the sting,
Better the wound forever seeking balm
Than this gray calm!

Is this pain's surcease? Better far the ache,
The long-drawn dreary day, the night's white wake;
Better the choking sigh, the sobbing breath
Than passion's death! 

Published in Palms, October 1926