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

Daniel Webster Davis, Poems included in "The Book of American Negro Poetry" (1922)


O, de birds ar' sweetly singin',
  'Weh down Souf,
An' de banjer is a-ringin',
  'Weh down Souf;
An' my heart it is a-sighin',
Whil' de moments am a-flyin',
Fur my hom' I am a-cryin',
  'Weh down Souf.

Dar de pickaninnies 's playin',
  'Weh down Souf,
An' fur dem I am a-prayin',
  'Weh down Souf;
An' when I gits sum munny,
Yo' kin bet I'm goin', my hunny,
Fur de lan' dat am so sunny,
  'Weh down Souf.

Whil' de win' up here's a-blowin',
  'Weh down Souf
De corn is sweetly growin',
  'Weh down Souf.
Dey tells me here ub freedum,
But I ain't a-gwine to heed um,
But I'se gwine fur to lebe um,
  Fur 'weh down Souf.

I bin up here a-wuckin',
  From 'weh down Souf,
An' I ain't a bin a-shurkin'--
  I'm frum 'weh down Souf;
But I'm gittin' mighty werry,
An' de days a-gittin' drerry,
An' I'm hongry, O, so berry,
  Fur my hom' down Souf.

O, de moon dar shines de brighter,
  'Weh down Souf,
An' I know my heart is lighter,
  'Weh down Souf;
An' de berry thought brings pledjur,
I'll be happy dar 'dout medjur,
Fur dar I hab my tredjur,
  'Weh down Souf.


Deze eatin' folks may tell me ub de gloriz ub spring lam',
An' de toofsumnis ub tuckey et wid cel'ry an' wid jam;
Ub beef-st'ak fried wid unyuns, an' sezoned up so fine--
But you' jes' kin gimme hog-meat, an' I'm happy all de time.

When de fros' is on de pun'kin an' de sno'-flakes in de ar',
I den begin rejoicin'--hog-killin' time is near;
An' de vizhuns ub de fucher den fill my nightly dreams,
Fur de time is fas' a-comin' fur de 'lishus pork an' beans.

We folks dat's frum de kuntry may be behin' de sun--
We don't like city eatin's, wid beefsteaks dat ain' done--
'Dough mutton chops is splendid, an' dem veal cutlits fine,
To me 'tain't like a sphar-rib, or gret big chunk ub chine.

Jes' talk to me 'bout hog-meat, ef yo' want to see me pleased,
Fur biled wid beans tiz gor'jus, or made in hog-head cheese;
An' I could jes' be happy, 'dout money, cloze or house,
Wid plenty yurz an' pig feet made in ol'-fashun "souse."

I 'fess I'm only humun, I hab my joys an' cares--
Sum days de clouds hang hebby, sum days de skies ar' fair;
But I forgib my in'miz, my heart is free frum hate,
When my bread is filled wid cracklins an' dar's chidlins on my plate.

'Dough 'possum meat is glo'yus wid 'taters in de pan,
But put 'longside pork sassage it takes a backward stan';
Ub all yer fancy eatin's, jes gib to me fur mine
Sum souse or pork or chidlins, sum sphar-rib, or de chine.

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