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.

For the lowly cot and the mansion fair,
For the peace and plenty together share,
For the Hand which guides us from above,
For Thy tender mercies, abiding love,
For the blessed home with its children gay,
For returnings of Thanksgiving Day,
For the bearing toils and the sharing cares,
We lift up our hearts in our songs and our prayers,—­
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—­
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

    Ray G. Dandridge

TIME TO DIE

Black brother, think you life so sweet
That you would live at any price? 
Does mere existence balance with
The weight of your great sacrifice? 
Or can it be you fear the grave
Enough to live and die a slave? 
O Brother! be it better said,
When you are gone and tears are shed,
That your death was the stepping stone
Your children’s children cross’d upon. 
Men have died that men might live: 
Look every foeman in the eye! 
If necessary, your life give
For something, ere in vain you die.

’ITTLE TOUZLE HEAD

(To R. V.P.)

Cum, listen w’ile yore Unkel sings
Erbout how low sweet chariot swings,
Truint Angel, wifout wings,
Mah ’ittle Touzle Head.

Stop!  Stop!  How dare you laff et me,
Bekaze I foul de time an’ key,
Thinks you dat I is Black Pattie,
Mah ’ittle Touzle Head?

O, Honey Lam’! dem sparklin’ eyes,
Dat offen laffs an’ selem cries,
Is sho a God gib natchel prize,
Mah ’ittle Touzle Head.

An’ doze wee ban’s so sof an’ sweet,
Mates wid dem toddlin’, velvet feet,
Jes to roun’ you out, complete,
Mah ’ittle Touzle Head.

Sma’t! youse sma’t ez sma’t kin be,
Knows yore evah A, B, C,
Plum on down to X, Y, Z,
Mah ’ittle Touzle Head.

De man doan know how much he miss,
Ef he ain’t got no niece lak dis;
Fro yore Unkel one mo’ kiss,
Mah ’ittle Touzle Head!

I wist sum magic w’u’d ellow,
(By charm or craf’—­doan mattah how)
You stay jes lak you is right now,
Mah ’ittle Touzle Head.

ZALKA PEETRUZA

(Who Was Christened Lucy Jane)

She danced, near nude, to tom-tom beat,
With swaying arms and flying feet,
’Mid swirling spangles, gauze and lace,
Her all was dancing—­save her face.

A conscience, dumb to brooding fears,
Companioned hearing deaf to cheers;
A body, marshalled by the will,
Kept dancing while a heart stood still: 

And eyes obsessed with vacant stare,
Looked over heads to empty air,
As though they sought to find therein
Redemption for a maiden sin.

’Twas thus, amid force driven grace,
We found the lost look on her face;
And then, to us, did it occur
That, though we saw—­we saw not her.

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