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

Countee Cullen, "To One Who Said Me Nay" (1925)

Thie poem won second prize in the Opportunity poetry contest of 1925

This much the gods vouchsafe today:
   That we two lie in the clover,
Watching the heavens dip and sway,
   With galleons sailing over.

This much is granted for an hour:
   That we are young and tender,
That I am bee and you are flower,
   Honey-mouthed and swaying slender.

This sweet of sweets is ours now:
   To wander through the land,
Plucking an apple from its bough
   To toss from hand to hand.

No thing is certain, joy nor sorrow,
   Except the hour we know it;
Oh, wear my heart today; tomorrow
   Who knows where the winds will blow it?

Published in Opportunity, May 1925
Also published in Colors, 1925

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