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

Edward Silvera (Edward S. Silvera), "Harlem" (1928)


By Edward Silvera

They have bruised your body
And nailed it to a cross—
I saw a black Madonna
Weeping for you
On a tenement doorstep.
You are a throbbing heart
Of stone—
The feet of lovers
Echo on your sidewalks
Like the ticking
Of a thousand clocks.
It is easy to forget
In Harlem—
The skyscrapers are motherly fingers 
Pointing to something 
Afar off.
          Street Corner
This is the rendezvous
Of dreamers—
What if the cop does tell them
To move along:
There is a joint up the street
Where coffee and buns sell for a dime,
And somewhere
There are soft dream beds
Heaven stoops down
To kiss the rooftops
Of Harlem
Rent is cheaper
Up nearer the stars.

Published in The Crisis, December 1928

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