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

Carrie Williams Clifford, "Poems" (1921)


God's Children

ELIZABETH was English,
Rebeckah was a Jew,
Eileen was an Irish lass,
And very pretty too.
Carmen was a Spaniard,
And French was sweet Marie,
Gretchen was a German,
And tidy as could be.
Juliet was a Roman,
Minerva, Greek, you see,
Wenonah was an Indian,
And lived in a tee-pee.
Beatrice was Italian,
Yum-Hum was Japanese,
Pale Vera was a Russian,
And San Toy a Chinese.
Dark Dinah was a Negro,
Fair Hilda was a Swiss;
More maids were there, including
Scotch Jane, a charming miss.
Now all of these dear children
Are cousins you can see,
And though they may not look alike,
Are like as like can be!
For all have souls and minds and hearts,
Image of God above;
And all must keep His great command
To trust, to hope and love.


Mr. and Mrs. Barbary Ape

WHEN Mr. and Mrs. Barbary Ape
Arrived at the Washington Zoo,
Oh, my! there was hurrying
And such a wild scurrying
And quite a big hullaballoo!
The monkeys all sat at attention
Eyes wide and mouths agape!
For they never had seen
Such strange creatures, I ween,
Belong to the family of Ape.
They sought to conceal their amusement;
But their efforts did not avail;
"Now what do you think,"
Said Baboon with a wink,
"They have never the sign of a tail!"
"They walk erect just like humans—
Their eye-brows are perfectly white!"
To the monkey-house folk,
They were quite a huge joke,
For they really were a strange sight.


A Model Program for My Little Lady

WAKE, my little lady!
Plunge into your morning tub,
Then with your towel briskly rub,
Wake, my little lady!
Eat, my little lady!
Toothsome porridge luscious fruit,
And a square of toast to boot,
Eat, my little lady!
Run my little lady!
Out where garden-roses grow,
Skip and frolic to and fro,
Run, my little lady!
Learn, my little lady!
Study hard each day at school,
Always heed the Golden Rule,
Learn, my little lady!
Sleep, my little lady!
On your bed all soft and white,
Rest and dream until the light,
Sleep my little lady!

Published in The Brownies' Book, May 1920

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