African American Poetry (1870-1927): A Digital Anthology

Arna Bontemps, "To a Young Girl Leaving the Hill Country" (1927)

TO A YOUNG GIRL LEAVING THE HILL COUNTRY

THE hills are wroth; the stones have scored you bitterly
Because you looked upon the naked sun
Oblivious of them, because you did not see
The trees you touched or mountains that you walked upon.
But there will come a day of darkness in the land,
A day wherein remembered sun alone comes through
To mark the hills; then perhaps you'll understand
Just how it was you drew from them and they from you.
For there will be a bent old woman in that day
Who, feeling something of this country in her bones,
Will leave her house tapping with a stick, who will (they say)
Come back to seek the girl she was in these familiar stones.


Published in Caroling Dusk1927