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.

I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet. 
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine. 
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—­
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams. 
And now—­unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

    Charles Bertram Johnson

A LITTLE CABIN

Des a little cabin
Big ernuff fur two. 
Des awaitin’, honey,
Cozy fixt fur you;
Down dah by de road,
Not ve’y far from town,
Waitin’ fur de missis,
When she’s ready to come down.

Des a little cabin,
An’ er acre o’ groun’,
Vines agrowin’ on it,
Fruit trees all aroun’,
Hollyhawks a-bloomin’
In de gyahden plot—­
Honey, would you like to
Own dat little spot?

Make dat little cabin
Cheery, clean an’ bright,
With an’ angel in it
Like a ray of light? 
Make dat little palace
Somethin’ fine an’ gran’,
Make it like an Eden,
Fur a lonely man?

Des you listen, Honey,
While I ’splain it all,
How some lady’s go’nter
Boss dat little hall;
Des you take my ban’
Dat’s de way it’s writ,
Des you take my heart,
Dat’s de deed to it.

NEGRO POETS

Full many lift and sing
Their sweet imagining;
Not yet the Lyric Seer,
The one bard of the throng,
With highest gift of song,
Breaks on our sentient ear.

Not yet the gifted child,
With notes enraptured, wild,
That storm and throng the heart,
To make his rage our own,
Our hearts his lyric throne;
Hard won by cosmic art.

I hear the sad refrain,
Of slavery’s sorrow-strain;
The broken half-lispt speech
Of freedom’s twilit hour;
The greater growing reach
Of larger latent power.

Here and there a growing note
Swells from a conscious throat;
Thrilled with a message fraught
The pregnant hour is near;
We wait our Lyric Seer,
By whom our wills are caught.

Who makes our cause and wrong
The motif of his song;
Who sings our racial good,
Bestows us honor’s place,
The cosmic brotherhood
Of genius—­not of race.

Blind Homer, Greek or Jew,
Of fame’s immortal few
Would still be deathless born;
Frail Dunbar, black or white,
In Fame’s eternal light,
Would shine a Star of Morn.

An unhorizoned range,
Our hour of doubt and change,
Gives song a nightless day,
Whose pen with pregnant mirth
Will give our longings birth,
And point our souls the way?

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Book of American Negro Poetry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook