Georgia Douglas Johnson Love Poem

Georgia Douglas was a Black woman born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1880.   She graduated from Atlanta University’s Normal School in 1896 and did a stint as a teacher and later an assistant principal in Georgia.  In 1903 she married Henry L. Johnson, a prominent Atlanta attorney, and seven years later they moved to DC with their two sons where she started submitting poems and stories to small magazines and newspaper for publication. Her first of four volumes of poetry, “The Heart of a Woman,” was published in 1918.

Shortly after Georgia’s husband died in 1925, she began hosting literary salons at her home every Saturday where writers would engage in lively discussions about politics, current events and the writing life.  Langston Hughes, Jesse Fauset, Alain Locke, Angelina Weld Grimke and other Harlem Renaissance authors were among her visitors.  The “Saturday Salons” continued for nearly 40 years and ended not long before her death in 1966.  Here is a poem that appeared in her first volume of poetry.

I Want to Die While You Love Me

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!

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