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

Edward Silvera, "Happiness" and "Death" (1926)


I went in quest of happiness
Upon a golden mountain
But she was in the plain below
Beside the public fountain.

I sought her in the sea-blue waves
And singing sun-lit billows
But she was in the placid stream
Beneath the shady willows.

I looked for her in city crowds
That filled the great white way
But found her on a lowly farm,
A milkmaid, tawny, gay.


My heart keeps a knockin’,—
   Thump, thump, thump.
My heart keeps a knockin',--
   Bump, bump, bump.
Some day Death is gonna answer de door
Then my heart ain’t gonna knock no more
An’ there won’t be no thump, thump, thump
An’ there won’t be no bump, bump, bump.

Published in The Crisis, November 1926

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