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

Bessie Brent Madison, "For Ethiopia" (1921)

Dark-skinned Mothers of America,
Who sit today, perhaps, with bowed down head,
Because your home is lonely since he left--
Leave all to God, and rise and smile instead;
Stretch forthh tthe arms that nursed him as a child
And guided his dear feet in ways of truth,
Remembering how your love has glorified 
And brightened all his earnest, hopeful youth.
Stretch forth your ams to Heaven, and say to Him:
'God, I have given my best, my all, to fight
In Freedom's holy name-- to live or die.
Which seemeth best, for justice and for right!
Grant thou, O God, that through this sacrifice,
When blood has well atoned for ancient wrong,
That Ethiopia's Sons may raise their heads
And sing a louder, clearer, grander song.'

Let it be so, when this dread war shall cease,
When hushed is every bitter cry of woe,
That all your children who to earth are spared,
In bonds of fellowship may firmer grow.
For none were better, stronger, nor more brave,
Than those of ours who sleep with ice-cold brow.
Let other nations rise and plead our cause.
And let them understand, who scorn us now! 

Published in The Crisis, May 1921

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