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

Claude McKay, "Invocation" (1917)

Ancestral Spirit, hidden from my sight
By modern Time's unnumbered works and ways
On which in awe and wonderment I gaze,
Where hid'st thou in the deepness of the night?
What evil powers thy healing presence blight?
Thou who from out the dark and dust didst raise
The Ethiop standard in the curtained days,
Before the white God said: Let there be light!
Bring ancient music to my modern heart,
Let fall the light upon my sable face
That once gleamed on the Ethiopian's art;
Lift me to thee out of this alien place
So I may be, thine exiled counterpart,
The worthy singer of my world and race.

Published in Seven Arts, 1917
Also published in Harlem Shadows, 1922

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