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I Want To Die While You Love Me

 

By 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.

 

Georgia Douglas Johnson (1877 - 1966) was born of a white British father and an African American mother. She was an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance, the literary, cultural and artistic movement that flourished in the mainly black part of New York's Harlem. Johnson's four volumes of poetry, The Heart of a Woman (1918), Bronze (1922), An Autumn Love Cycle (1928), and Share My World (1962), established her as one of the most accomplished African American woman poets of the early 20th Century.

Johnson graduated from Atlanta University Normal College in 1896. She also studied music at Oberlin Conservatory and at the Cleveland College of Music, both in Ohio.

After the death of her husband in 1925, Johnson was forced to support herself and her two sons through a series of temporary jobs. On Saturday nights she ran a Salon in Washington D.C's S Street, attended by many Harlem Renaissance writers. These included Langston Hughes,Alain Locke, Louis Alexander, Gwendolyn Bennett, Marita Bonner, Countee Cullen Jean Toomer and Clarissa Scott Delaney. Prominent writers often debuted new works at these gatherings.

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