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

Benjamin Griffith Brawley, "Sanctuary" (1907)


I have drunk in the fullest measure 
    The draught of the Demon's flesh-wine,
And over the wrecks of my pleasure
    The lights of the lower world shine;
And now here to-night I am thinking 
     Of all the dark paths I have trod,
And I hate all the sin and the sinking 
    And want to go back to my God.
I am tired of the night and its yearnings, 
    I am tired of the pain in my breast;
I am weary of jealousy's burnings,
    And am longing for quiet and rest;
For the pain in my prison is pressing
Me down, and the Tempter is there---
I want to go back to the blessing
    And breath of a holier air.
O heart, you and I are but lovers ,
    And we love in the human way;
Even now in the darkness there hovers
    Around us the light of they day;
But we know just as sure as that gladness
    Is up in the heaven on high,
That our sinning is folly and madness
    And will bring its despair by and by 
So to-night while our warm hearts are beating
    And our blood surges up hot and bold,
While we once again are repeating 
    The story ten thousand years old,
May our hearts be uplifted, united,
    May the flesh see the fate it deserves,
May our love in its richness be lighted 
    By the best in ourselves that it serves.
I am weary of envy and sinning,
    I am weary of fever and strife, 
I turn myself now to the winning
    Of the best and the noblest in life;
What is better than love at its purest?
    What is worse than the love of the sod?
And the love that is firmest and surest 
    Is the love that is nearest God. 

*Published in "The Voice of the Negro"


This page has paths:

This page has tags: