The Book of American Negro Poetry eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about The Book of American Negro Poetry.

Dah, now, I t’ought dat you’d hug me up close. 
  Go back, ol’ buggah, you sha’n’t have dis boy. 
He ain’t no tramp, ner no straggler, of co’se;
  He’s pappy’s pa’dner an’ playmate an’ joy. 
Come to you’ pallet now—­go to you’ res’;
  Wisht you could allus know ease an’ cleah skies;
Wisht you could stay jes’ a chile on my breas’—­
  Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes!


Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing;
  I look far out into the pregnant night,
Where I can hear a solemn booming gun
  And catch the gleaming of a random light,
That tells me that the ship I seek is passing, passing.

My tearful eyes my soul’s deep hurt are glassing;
  For I would hail and check that ship of ships. 
I stretch my hands imploring, cry aloud,
  My voice falls dead a foot from mine own lips,
And but its ghost doth reach that vessel, passing, passing.

O Earth, O Sky, O Ocean, both surpassing,
  O heart of mine, O soul that dreads the dark! 
Is there no hope for me?  Is there no way
  That I may sight and check that speeding bark
Which out of sight and sound is passing, passing?


Summah night an’ sighin’ breeze,
  ’Long de lovah’s lane;
Frien’ly, shadder-mekin’ trees,
  ’Long de lovah’s lane. 
White folks’ wo’k all done up gran’—­
Me an’ ‘Mandy han’-in-han’
Struttin’ lak we owned de lan’,
  ’Long de lovah’s lane.

Owl a-settin’ ’side de road,
  ’Long de lovah’s lane,
Lookin’ at us lak he knowed
  Dis uz lovah’s lane. 
Go on, hoot yo’ Mou’nful tune,
You ain’ nevah loved in June,
An’ come hidin’ f’om de moon
  Down in lovah’s lane.

Bush it ben’ an’ nod an’ sway,
  Down in lovah’s lane,
Try’n’ to hyeah me whut I say
  ’Long de lovah’s lane. 
But I whispahs low lak dis,
An’ my ’Mandy smile huh bliss—­
Mistah Bush he shek his fis’,
  Down in lovah’s lane.

Whut I keer ef day is long,
  Down in lovah’s lane. 
I kin allus sing a song
  ’Long de lovah’s lane. 
An’ de wo’ds I hyeah an’ say
Meks up fu’ de weary day
Wen I’s strollin’ by de way,
  Down in lovah’s lane.

An’ dis t’ought will allus rise
  Down in lovah’s lane;
Wondah whethah in de skies
  Dey’s a lovah’s lane. 
Ef dey ain’t, I tell you true,
’Ligion do look mighty blue,
‘Cause I do’ know whut I’d do
  ’Dout a lovah’s lane.


This is the debt I pay
Just for one riotous day,
Years of regret and grief. 
Sorrow without relief.

Pay it I will to the end—­
Until the grave, my friend,
Gives me a true release—­
Gives me the clasp of peace.

Project Gutenberg
The Book of American Negro Poetry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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