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About this Poem 

“When I Rise Up” was published in Bronze: A Book of Verses (B.J. Brimmer Company, 1922).

When I Rise Up

When I rise up above the earth,
And look down on the things that fetter me,
I beat my wings upon the air,
Or tranquil lie,
Surge after surge of potent strength
Like incense comes to me
When I rise up above the earth
And look down upon the things that fetter me.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Georgia Douglas Johnson

Georgia Douglas Johnson

Georgia Douglas Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1880. A member of the Harlem Renaissance, her collections of poetry include The Heart of a Woman (The Cornhill Company, 1918) and Share My World (Halfway House, 1962). 

by this poet

poem
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
poem

Oh, for the veils of my far away youth,
Shielding my heart from the blaze of the truth,
Why did I stray from their shelter and grow
Into the sadness that follows—to know!

Impotent atom with desolate gaze
Threading the tumult of hazardous ways—
Oh, for the veils, for the veils of my

poem

Not wholly this or that,
But wrought
Of alien bloods am I,
A product of the interplay
Of traveled hearts.
Estranged, yet not estranged, I stand
All comprehending;
From my estate
I view earth’s frail dilemma;
Scion of fused strength am I,
All understanding,
Nor