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

Countee Cullen, "Icarian Wings" (1921/1924)

At dusk when drowsy zephyrs blow,
   My soul goes clad like Icarus,
To genie lands of summer snow;
   Rejuvenated impetus
For laggard limbs is there; the lamp
   Of far Cathay, my passive slave,
Works mighty change in court and camp,
   And none my ire have strength to brave.

When silver rifts disturb the night
   And herald light's diurnal reign,
My airy oars my pleas requite
   With disobedience; in vain
Cajoleries and arts; once more
   My lot to don the drab, dull husk
You know; my golden wings I store
   And wait the halcyon time of dusk.


Published in The Clintonion (Countee Cullen's High school's yearbook), 1921
Published in The Crisis, April 1924

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