The Book of American Negro Poetry eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 109 pages of information about The Book of American Negro Poetry.

She feels the old Antaean strength
In you, the great dynamic beat
Of primal passions, and she sees
In you the last besieged retreat
Of love relentless, lusty, fierce,
Love pain-ecstatic, cruel-sweet.

O, brothers mine, take care!  Take care! 
The great white witch rides out to-night. 
O, younger brothers mine, beware! 
Look not upon her beauty bright;
For in her glance there is a snare,
And in her smile there is a blight.

MOTHER NIGHT

Eternities before the first-born day,
  Or ere the first sun fledged his wings of flame,
  Calm Night, the everlasting and the same,
  A brooding mother over chaos lay. 
And whirling suns shall blaze and then decay,
  Shall run their fiery courses and then claim
  The haven of the darkness whence they came;
  Back to Nirvanic peace shall grope their way.

So when my feeble sun of life burns out,
  And sounded is the hour for my long sleep,
  I shall, full weary of the feverish light,
Welcome the darkness without fear or doubt,
  And heavy-lidded, I shall softly creep
  Into the quiet bosom of the Night.

O SOUTHLAND!

O Southland!  O Southland! 
  Have you not heard the call,
The trumpet blown, the word made known
  To the nations, one and all? 
The watchword, the hope-word,
  Salvation’s present plan? 
A gospel new, for all—­for you: 
  Man shall be saved by man.

O Southland!  O Southland! 
  Do you not hear to-day
The mighty beat of onward feet,
  And know you not their way? 
’Tis forward, ’tis upward,
  On to the fair white arch
Of Freedom’s dome, and there is room
  For each man who would march.

O Southland, fair Southland! 
  Then why do you still cling
To an idle age and a musty page,
  To a dead and useless thing? 
’Tis springtime!  ’Tis work-time! 
  The world is young again! 
And God’s above, and God is love,
  And men are only men.

O Southland! my Southland! 
  O birthland! do not shirk
The toilsome task, nor respite ask,
  But gird you for the work. 
Remember, remember
  That weakness stalks in pride;
That he is strong who helps along
  The faint one at his side.

BROTHERS

See!  There he stands; not brave, but with an air
Of sullen stupor.  Mark him well!  Is he
Not more like brute than man?  Look in his eye! 
No light is there; none, save the glint that shines
In the now glaring, and now shifting orbs
Of some wild animal caught in the hunter’s trap.

How came this beast in human shape and form? 
Speak, man!—­We call you man because you wear
His shape—­How are you thus?  Are you not from
That docile, child-like, tender-hearted race
Which we have known three centuries?  Not from
That more than faithful race which through three wars
Fed our dear wives and nursed our helpless babes
Without a single breach of trust?  Speak out!

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