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

Charles Bertram Johnson, "The Cup of Knowledge" (1905)

They brought me, tempting - red, Life's richest wine,
The mad thirst four hundred years did create,
My soul was maddened with desire to sate,
At one draught, deep-drawn, vital and divine;
I lifted with passionate haste and nigh,
The Cup of Knowledge to my famished lips,
Like hungry flames unchecked in stubble dry,
Athrough my veins red riot to the tips.
The æons that my soul, like smothered flames,
Burned with fierce ardor wild and was restrained,
My soul in silence cherished mighty aims,
And longed to tread in fields then unattained;
At last enfreed I stood in manhood's peace
Full conscious of my soul's divine release.

Published in Colored American Magazine, January 1905

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