African American Poetry (1870-1927): A Digital Anthology

Jessie Fauset, "La Vie C'est La Vie" (1922)

LA VIE C'EST LA VIE

On summer afternoons I sit
Quiescent by you in the park,
And idly watch the sunbeams gild
And tint the ash-trees' bark.

Or else I watch the squirrels frisk
And chaffer in the grassy lane;
And all the while I mark your voice
Breaking with love and pain.

I know a woman who would give
Her chance of heaven to take my place;
To see the love-light in your eyes,
The love-glow on your face!

And there's a man whose lightest word
Can set my chilly blood afire;
Fulfilment of his least behest
Defines my life's desire.

But he will none of me, Nor I
Of you. Nor you of her. 'Tis said
The world is full of jests like these.--
I wish that I were dead.


Published in The Book of American Negro Poetry, 1922
Also published in Caroling Dusk, 1927