by Adelaide Cummings

How carelessly you said it,
“I think it’s time to part,”
The words that I’d so dreaded
From the start.

So leave in a blaze of sunlight.
Don’t leave in the rain.
Leave at noon. Oh, not at night!
I could not bear the pain.

Leave when no rose is blooming,
Leave at the full moon’s wane.
In empty hours now looming,
Memories remain!

See the smile that I’m forcing,
Note that I’m casting no blame.
Leave before tears begin coursing,
I’d be destroyed by the shame!

So leave when the sea is surging,
Leave at the crest of tide.
I must not stoop to urging.
Leave me, at least, my pride!

* This poem came to me in a dream, after I’d fallen
asleep reading the love poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay.
It appeared in my mind, complete. Was it the power
of suggestion, or was it Edna? A.C.

© 2009 by Adelaide Cummings















About the Author

Adelaide Cummings, age 95, is a renowned and award winning poet who lives in West Falmouth, Massachusetts. She recently won a national Barnes & Noble prize for her poetry. In her more than 9 decades, she has lived a varied and accomplished life as a magazine writer, author, poet, editor, world traveler, sailor, and winner of 4 Olympic gold medals in tennis.

Adelaide Cummings, a Radcliff graduate, worked for Life Magazine when it started (in the mid 1930’s). Later, she was Editor in Chief of Child Life Magazine (breaking the mold when it was still unusual to be a career women). She is an author of 2 juvenile age-group books and 1 adult biography (with Putnam and Houghton-Mifflin) and was a regular columnist at the National Observer writing a weekly political satire column called “Zoos Who.” Adelaide Cummings has also written many travel articles during her extensive world travels (which she still does today), some of which she did with her husband on their boat. She also won 4 Senior Olympic gold medals in Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles and 1 U.S. T.A. National title.

With her varied, interesting and busy life, Adelaide Cummings did not take up poetry full time until she was in her eighties. She has written and self published 6 books in the last 6 years. She credits her love of and prodigious production of poetry as a key to staying so sharp and active. Her “youthful spirit” is epitomized by the following story: Already fluent in French, she took up Italian at age 89. Her Italian teacher asked her why she was taking up a new language at such a late age. She replied, “because, I want to find an Italian lover!” Her latest poetry book, Curtain Call, will soon be available on


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