If You Should Go
by Countee Cullen
Love, leave me like the light,
The gently passing day;
We would not know, but for the night,
When it has slipped away.
So many hopes have fled,
Have left me but the name
Of what they were. When love is dead,
Go thou, beloved, the same.
Go quietly; a dream
When done, should leave no trace
That it has lived, except a gleam
Across the dreamer’s face.
[This poem is in the public domain ]
“If You Should Go” originally appeared in the June 1922 issue of The Crisis.
Countee Cullen was born Countee LeRoy Porter on May 30, 1903, likely in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of On These I Stand: An Anthology of the Best Poems of Countee Cullen (Harper & Bros., 1947), The Black Christ and Other Poems (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1929), and Copper Sun (Harper & Bros., 1927). A teacher in New York City for twelve years, he died on January 9, 1946.