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

Countee Cullen, "At the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem" (1927)

At the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem

OF ALL the grandeur that was Solomon’s
High testament of Israel’s far pride,
Shedding its lustre like a sun of suns,
This feeble flicker only has not died.
This wall alone reminds a vanquished race,
This brief remembrance still retained in stone,
That sure foundations guard their given place
To rehabilitate the overthrown.

So in the battered temple of the heart,
That grief is harder on than time on stone,
Though three sides crumble, one will stand apart,
Where thought may mourn its past, remembrance groan,
And hands now bare that once were rich with rings
Rebuild upon the ancient site of things.

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