Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Poetry Corner (Black History Month Edition)

I figured I'd post up some of my favorite poems by Black poets. I used to write pretty often and thanks to my job, I don't do it as often as I like to. But pretty much, this is where I'll drop some of my old poems that I posted on MySpace as well as feature some of my favorites. With that said, here's three to ponder.

Langston Hughes "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Countee Cullen "The Incident"

Once riding in old Baltimore
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.

Paul Laurence Dunbar "We Wear The Mask"

WE wear the mask that grins and lies
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,

We wear the mask!

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