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

Charles Frederick White, "The Eighth Returning from Cuba" (1899/1908)


Gaily we ride by the river,
Rumbling o'er mountains and creeks,
Laughing and jolly as ever,
With warm, red blood in our cheeks,
Riding through cuts in the mountains,
Riding through tunnels in hills,
By the fresh, silvery fountains,
O'er crystal cascades and rills,
Through rural towns and collections,
Stations of various names,
High hills in all the directions,
Through swamps and pine-covered plains,
Scenery fine of description,
Beautiful valleys and vales,
Grandeur of wondrous conception
Portrayed on most gorgeous scales,
'Round curves alongside the river,
Under cliffs hanging with rock,—
Naught from my mind e'er can sever
These scenes in memory locked.
By farms, of modern perfection
With their storehouses o'erfilled
With produce, fine for selection,
From rich land thoroughly tilled,
Through forest and broad plantation,
Hickory, walnut, oak, birch,
Cities of large population,
Districts of value and worth;
Thus comes the gallant Eighth Regiment,
Volunteered from Illinois,
Back from the Cuban intrenchment,—
Brave band of true-hearted boys.
March, 1899.

Published in Plea of the Negro Solder: And a Hundred Other Poems, 1908

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