African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

A Sonnet in Memory of John Brown by Georgia Douglas Johnson

We lift a son to you across the day
Which bears through travailing, the seed you spread
In terror's morning, flung with fingers red
In blood of tyrants, who debarred the way
To Freedom's dawning. Hearken to the lay
Chanted by dusky millions, soft and mellow-keyed
In minor measure, Martyr of the Freed,
A song of memory across the Day!

Truth cannot perish, though the earth erase
The royal emblems, leaving not a trace;
And time still burgeoneth the fertile seed
Though he is crucified who wrought the deed:
O, Alleghanies, fold him to your breast
Until the Judgment! Sentinel his rest!

(Published in The Crisis, August 1922)

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