By James Weldon Johnson
I dreamed that I was a rose
That grew beside a lonely way,
Close by a path none ever chose,
And there I lingered day by day.
Beneath the sunshine and the show’r
I grew and waited there apart,
Gathering perfume hour by hour,
And storing it within my heart,
Yet, never knew,
Just why I waited there and grew.
I dreamed that you were a bee
That one day gaily flew along,
You came across the hedge to me,
And sang a soft, love-burdened song.
You brushed my petals with a kiss,
I woke to gladness with a start,
And yielded up to you in bliss
The treasured fragrance of my heart;
And then I knew
That I had waited there for you.
About This Poem
“The Awakening” was published in Johnson’s book Fifty Years and Other Poems (Cornhill Company, 1917).
James Weldon Johnson was born on June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1920 he became the national organizer for the NAACP. Johnson’s works include Fifty Years and Other Poems (Cornhill Company, 1917) and Saint Peter Relates an Incident: Selected Poems (The Viking Press 1935). He died on June 26, 1938.