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.


Turn me to my yellow leaves,
I am better satisfied;
There is something in me grieves—­
That was never born, and died. 
Let me be a scarlet flame
On a windy autumn morn,
I who never had a name,
Nor from breathing image born. 
From the margin let me fall
Where the farthest stars sink down,
And the void consumes me,—­all
In nothingness to drown. 
Let me dream my dream entire,
Withered as an autumn leaf—­
Let me have my vain desire,
Vain—­as it is brief.


There are no hollows any more
Between the mountains; the prairie floor
Is like a curtain with the drape
Of the winds’ invisible shape;
And nowhere seen and nowhere heard
The sea’s quiet as a sleeping bird.

Now we’re traveling, what holds back
Arrival, in the very track
Where the urge put forth; so we stay
And move a thousand miles a day. 
Time’s a Fancy ringing bells
Whose meaning, charlatan history, tells!


I kissed a kiss in youth
  Upon a dead man’s brow;
And that was long ago,—­
  And I’m a grown man now.

It’s lain there in the dust,
  Thirty years and more;—­
My lips that set a light
  At a dead man’s door.


Heart free, hand free,
  Blue above, brown under,
All the world to me
  Is a place of wonder. 
Sun shine, moon shine,
  Stars, and winds a-blowing,
All into this heart of mine
  Flowing, flowing, flowing!

Mind free, step free,
  Days to follow after,
Joys of life sold to me
  For the price of laughter. 
Girl’s love, man’s love,
  Love of work and duty,
Just a will of God’s to prove
  Beauty, beauty, beauty!


I am glad daylong for the gift of song,
For time and change and sorrow;
For the sunset wings and the world-end things
Which hang on the edge of to-morrow. 
I am glad for my heart whose gates apart
Are the entrance-place of wonders,
Where dreams come in from the rush and din
Like sheep from the rains and thunders.

    George Reginald Margetson


Part I

I’m out to find the new, the modern school,
Where Science trains the fledgling bard to fly,
Where critics teach the ignorant, the fool,
To write the stuff the editors would buy;
It matters not e’en tho it be a lie,—­
Just so it aims to smash tradition’s crown
And build up one instead decked with a new renown.

A thought is haunting me by night and day,
And in some safe archive I seek to lay it;
I have some startling thing I wish to say,
And they can put me wise just how to say it. 
Without their aid, I, like the ass, must bray it,
Without due knowledge of its mood and tense,
And so ’tis sure to fail the bard to recompense.

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