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A Black Poet Arna Bontemps Speaks

Updated on November 22, 2012

Arna Wendell Bontemps

(October 13,1902 - June 4, 1973)

DARK GIRL

 

Easy on your drums,

Easy wind and rain,

And softer on your horns,

She will not dance again.

 

Come easy little leaves

Without a ghost of sound

From the China trees

To the fallow ground.

 

Easy, easy drums

And sweet leaves overhead,

Easy wind and rain;

Your dancing girl is dead.

                                          Arna Bontemps

THE DAYBREAKERS

 

We are not come to wage a strife

   With swords upon this hill;

It is not wise to waste the life

   Against a stubborn will.

Yet would we die as some have done;

Beating a way for the rising sun.

                                                 Arna Bontemps

MIRACLES

 

Doubt no longer miracles,

This spring day makes it plain

A man may crumble into dust

And straightway live again.

 

A jug of water in the sun

Will easily turn to wine

If love is stopping at the well

And love's brown arms entwine.

 

And you who think him only man,

I tell you faithfully

That I have seen Christ clothed in rain

Walking on the sea.

                                                       Arna Bontemps

SOUTHERN MANSION

 

Poplars are standing there still as death

And ghosts of dead men

Meet their ladies walking

Two by two beneath the shade

And standing on the marble steps.

 

There is a sound of music echoing

Through the open door

And in the field there is

Another sound tinkling in the cotton:

Chains of bondmen dragging on the ground.

 

The years go back with an iron clank,

A hand is on the gate,

A dry leaf trembles on the wall.

Ghosts are walking.

They have broken roses down

And poplars stand there still as death.

                                                      Arna Bontemps

NOCTURNE OF THE WHARVES

 

All night they whine upon their ropes and boom

against the dock with helpless prows:

these little ships that are too worn for sailing

front the wharf but do not rest at all.

Tugging at the dim gray wharf they think

no doubt of China and bright Bombay,

and they remember islands of the East,

Formosa and the mountians of Japan.

They think of cities ruined by the sea

and they are restless, sleeping at the wharf.

 

Tugging at the dim gray wharf they think

no less of Africa.  An east wind blows

and salt spray sweeps the unattended decks.

Shouts of deadmen break upon the night.

The captain calls his crew and they respond--

the little ships are dreaming--land is near.

But mist comes up to dim the copper coast,

mist dissembles images of the trees.

The captain and his men alike are lost

and their shouts go down in the rising sound of waves.

 

Ah little ships, I know your weariness!

I know the sea-green shadows of your dream.

For I have loved the cities of the sea,

and desolatons of the old days I

have loved:  I was a wanderer like you

and I have broken down before the wind.

                                                        Arna Bontemps 

 

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      Sadik 4 years ago

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      Ali 4 years ago

      Ah ,votre petite hiisotre de pizza n est plus e0 l ordre du jour ?Je pensais avoir affaire e0 Madame Soleil ,pour Nice c e9tait une re9alite9

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