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

Claude McKay, "When I Have Passed Away" (1922)

When I have passed away and am forgotten,
And no one living can recall my face,
When under alien sod my bones lie rotten
With not a tree or stone to mark the place;

Perchance a pensive youth, with passion burning,
For olden verse that smacks of love and wine,
The musty pages of old volumes turning,
May light upon a little song of mine,

And he may softly hum the tune and wonder
Who wrote the verses in the long ago;
Or he may sit him down awhile to ponder
Upon the sample words that touch him so.

From Harlem Shadows, 1922

‚Äč(Edited and Proofread by Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno)

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