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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Life's Rendezvous

By Countee Cullen

The Magpie 1897-1934, 1934, v. 35, n. 1, p. 42.

{By Countee Cullen, the author; reprinted from Magpie, Jan., 1921)
Black CCC Member in Barracks Doorway
Arista Leader, News Editor, Prominent Poet—Countee P. Cullen

(I Have a rendezvous with death... Allan Seeger)

I have a rendezvous with Life
    And all travailling lovely things,
    Liking groping seeds and beating
And cracked lips warring with a fife.
I am betrothed to Beauty, scarred
    With suffering though she may be;
    In that she bears pain splendidly,
Her comeliness may not be marred.
The long, thin sword of dreams I wield
    Is light enough for dark and doubt;
    With "Life and Youth" my battle
There is no blow can dent my shield.
I keep my tryst, come dawn or dusk,
    With Life, and find her always fair,
    With cool, soft touch, sleep-scented
Perfumed with poppy leaves and musk.
I draw in pride with each warm
    Such rainbow seed has youth to sow,
    Such long, white roads young feet
        must know,
I have no time to think of death.
I put no faith in any day
    When this impassioned flesh of mine
    Shall less desire its bread and wine
All longing lost in primal clay.
The day God blew a silver horn
    To herald light and fire in birth,
    The day I knew my body's worth,
I was not made for dying scorn.
When I leave earth, a slim, dark boy
    (Whom men misname) will take my
    Nor find my wings less eager-fanned
To waft me to Life's clearer joy.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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