I Want to Die While You Love Me

Georgia Douglas Johnson

I want to die while you love me,
    While yet you hold me fair,
While laughter lies upon my lips
    And lights are in my hair.

I want to die while you love me,
    And bear to that still bed,
Your kisses turbulent, unspent
    To warm me when I’m dead.

I want to die while you love me
    Oh, who would care to live
Till love has nothing more to ask
    And nothing more to give!

I want to die while you love me
    And never, never see
The glory of this perfect day
    Grow dim or cease to be.

SOURCE: Johnson, Georgia Douglas. “I Want to Die While You Love Me,”  in The Book of American Negro Poetry, chosen and edited, with an essay on the Negro’s creative genius, by James Weldon Johnson (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company 1922, 1931). 

This poem appears in several anthologies of African American literature (versions not checked).

Abbreviated versions are included in Johnson’s own anthologies: in An Autumn Love Cycle (New York: Harold Vinal, Ltd., 1928), p. 42 (the final stanza is lacking); a different version is included in Share My World (1962), p. 19.

The Book of American Negro Poetry,
James Weldon Johnson, ed.:
Contents: 1922 & 1931

Anthology of American Negro Literature
ed. by V. F. Calverton
[Preface & Contents]

Negro Poetry in America
by Lena Beatrice Morton
[Excerpts & Summary]

Black Studies, Music, America vs Europe


Georgia Douglas Johnson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems (1918)
by Georgia Douglas Johnson

The Selected Works of Georgia Douglas Johnson (1997)

Georgia Douglas Johnson: At the Heart of the New Negro Renaissance
by Evan Boyle
(YouTube, 8:42 min)

Georgia Douglas Johnson with Kassidi Jones
(Mondays at Beinecke, February 7, 2022)
(YouTube, 47:31 min)

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