To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! whirl! whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening. …
A talk, slim tree. …
Night coming tenderly
… Black like me.
Photo: New York public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
I shall hate you
Like a dart of singing steel
Shot through still air
As pines are sober
When they stand etched
Against the sky.
Hating you shall be a game
Played with cool hands
And slim fingers.
Your heart will yearn
For the lonely splendor
Of the pine tree
While rekindled fires
In my eyes
Shall wound you like swift arrows.
Memory will lay its hands
Upon your breast
And you will understand
Gwendolyn B. Bennett
Brown Baby Cobina, with his large black velvet eyes,
His little coos of ecstacies, his gurgling of surprise,
With brass bells on his ankles, that laugh where’er he goes,
It’s so rare for bells to tinkle, above brown dimpled toes.
Brown Baby Cobina is so precious that we fear
Something might come and steal him, when we grown-ups are not near;
So we tied bells on his ankles, and kissed on them this charm —
” Bells, guard our Baby Cobina from all devils and all harm. ”
Gladys May Casely Hayford (Aquah LaLuah)
From: “Caroling Dusk: an Anthology of Verse by Black Poets.” Edited by Countee Cullen.
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Wall, Cheryl. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.