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

Edward S. Silvera, "Jungle Taste" (1926)

Jungle Taste

There is a coarseness
In the songs of black men 
Of the sea.
There is a weird strangeness
In the songs of black men 
Which sounds not strange
To me.

There is beauty
In the faces of black women,
Jungle beauty
And mystery.
Dark, hidden beauty
In the faces of black women
Which only black men

Trees are the souls of men
Reaching skyward.
And while each soul
Draws nearer God
Its dark roots cleave
To earthly sod :
   Death, only death
   Brings triumph to the soul.
   The silent grave alone
   Can bare the goal.
   Then roots and all
   Must lie forgot
   To rot.


Published in Fire!! Devoted to the Younger Negro Artists, November 1926
An excerpt was also published in The Crisis, January 1927

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