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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.

We trekked into a far country,
My friend and I.
Our deeper content was never spoken,
But each knew all the other said. 
He told me how calm his soul was laid
By the lack of anvil and strife. 
“The wooing kestrel,” I said, “mutes his mating-note
To please the harmony of this sweet silence.” 
And when at the day’s end
We laid tired bodies ’gainst
The loose warm sands,
And the air fleeced its particles for a coverlet;
When star after star came out
To guard their lovers in oblivion—­
My soul so leapt that my evening prayer
Stole my morning song!

DUNBAR

Ah, how poets sing and die! 
Make one song and Heaven takes it;
Have one heart and Beauty breaks it;
Chatterton, Shelley, Keats and I—­
Ah, how poets sing and die!

    Alex Rogers

WHY ADAM SINNED

“I heeard da ole folks talkin’ in our house da other night
’Bout Adam in da scripchuh long ago. 
Da lady folks all ’bused him, sed, he knowed it wus’n right
An’ ’cose da men folks dey all sed, “Dat’s so.” 
I felt sorry fuh Mistuh Adam, an’ I felt like puttin’ in,
‘Cause I knows mo’ dan dey do, all ’bout whut made Adam sin: 

Adam nevuh had no Mammy, fuh to take him on her knee
An’ teach him right fum wrong an’ show him
Things he ought to see. 
I knows down in my heart—­he’d-a let dat apple be
But Adam nevuh had no dear old Ma-am-my.

He nevuh knowed no chilehood roun’ da ole log cabin do’,
He nevuh knowed no pickaninny life. 
He started in a great big grown up man, an’ whut is mo’,
He nevuh had da right kind uf a wife. 
Jes s’pose he’d had a Mammy when dat temptin’ did begin
An’ she’d a come an’ tole him
“Son, don’ eat dat—­dat’s a sin.”

But, Adam nevuh had no Mammy fuh to take him on her knee
An’ teach him right fum wrong an’ show him
Things he ought to see. 
I knows down in my heart he’d a let dat apple be,
But Adam nevuh had no dear old Ma-am-my.

THE RAIN SONG

Bro.  Simmons

“Walk right in Brother Wilson—­how you feelin’ today?”

Bro.  Wilson

“Jes Mod’rate, Brother Simmons, but den I ginnerly feels dat way.”

Bro.  Simmons

“Here’s White an’ Black an’ Brown an’ Green; how’s all you gent’men’s been?”,

Bro.  White

“My health is good but my bus’ness slack.”

Bro.  Black

“I’se been suff’rin’ lots wid pains in my back.”

Bro.  Brown

“My ole ’ooman’s sick, but I’se alright—­”

Bro.  Green

“Yes, I went aftuh Doctuh fuh her ’tuther night—­”

Bro.  Simmons

“Here’s Sandy Turner, as I live!”

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