Common Dust

By Georgia Douglas Johnson 1880–1966
And who shall separate the dust
What later we shall be:
Whose keen discerning eye will scan
And solve the mystery?

The high, the low, the rich, the poor, 

The black, the white, the red, 

And all the chromatique between, 

Of whom shall it be said:

Here lies the dust of Africa; 

Here are the sons of Rome; 

Here lies the one unlabelled, 

The world at large his home!

Can one then separate the dust? 

Will mankind lie apart, 

When life has settled back again 

The same as from the start?

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Poet Georgia Douglas Johnson 1880–1966

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

Subjects Living, Death, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

A member of the Harlem Renaissance, Georgia Douglas Johnson wrote plays, a syndicated newspaper column, and four collections of poetry: The Heart of a Woman (1918), Bronze (1922), An Autumn Love Cycle (1928), and Share My World (1962). Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to parents of African American, Native American, and English descent. She graduated from Atlanta University Normal College and studied music at the Oberlin . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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