If I Had Known

By Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson 1875–1935
  If I had known
  Two years ago how drear this life should be,
  And crowd upon itself allstrangely sad,
  Mayhap another song would burst from out my lips,
  Overflowing with the happiness of future hopes;
  Mayhap another throb than that of joy.
  Have stirred my soul into its inmost depths,
                    If I had known.

  If I had known,
  Two years ago the impotence of love,
  The vainness of a kiss, how barren a caress,
  Mayhap my soul to higher things have soarn,
  Nor clung to earthly loves and tender dreams,
  But ever up aloft into the blue empyrean,
  And there to master all the world of mind,
                    If I had known.

Source: Violets and Other Tales (1895)

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Poet Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson 1875–1935

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Heartache & Loss

 Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

Biography

Poet, essayist, diarist, and activist Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to mixed-race parents. Her African American, Anglo, Native American, and Creole heritage contributed to her complex understandings of gender, race, and ethnicity, subjects she often addressed in her work. Her first book, Violets and Other Tales (1895), was published when she was just 20. A writer of short stories, essays, and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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