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

Arna Bontemps, "Old Mansion" (1927)

Old Mansion
By Arna Bontemps
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 door
And in the field there is
Another sound tinkling in the cotton:
Chains of bondsmen 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. 

Published in Carolina Magazine, May 1927

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