Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

If I Could But Forget


If I could but forget
The fullness of those first sweet days,
When you burst sun-like thro' the haze
Of unacquaintance, on my sight,
And made the wet, gray day seem bright
While clouds themselves grew fair to see.
And since, no day is gray or wet
But all the scene comes back to me,
If I could but forget.

If I could but forget
How your dusk eyes look into mine,
And how I thrilled as with strong wine
Beneath your touch; while sped amain
The quickened stream thro' ev'ry vein;
How near my breath fell to a gasp,
When for a space our fingers met
In one electric vibrant clasp,
If I could but forget.

If I could but forget
The months of passion and of pain,
And all that followed in their train--
Rebellious thoughts that would arise,
Rebellious tears that dimmed mine eyes,
The prayers that I might set love's fire
Aflame within your bosom yet--
The death at last of that desire--
If I could but forget.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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