African American Poetry (1870-1926): A Digital Anthology

Cora J. Ball Moten, "A Lullaby" (1914)



Dusky lashes droop and fall,
Night-winds whisper, night-birds call.
Close your tired sleepy eyes,
Earth is singing lullabies,
Kindly twilight shadows creep
O’er a world that longs for sleep,
Little dusky babe of mine
Close those sleepy eyes of thine,
Mother’s love will softly keep 
Watch above you while you sleep,
Cruel hate and deadly wrong
Cannot silence mother’s song
Though against thy soft brown cheek
She may hide her face and weep.
Sleep, brown baby, while you may
Peacefully, at close of day.
Oh, that mother’s love could guard,
Keep thee safe ‘neath watch and ward
From the cruelly deadly things 
That await thee while she sings.
Prejudice and cold white hate:
These, my baby, these, thy fate,
Little, gentle, trustful thing, 
Thus, these sobs, the while I sing. 

Published in The Crisis. October 1914    
Retyped by Christian Farrior
 

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