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

Effie Lee Newsome, "At the Pool" (1927)

At the Pool

LIKE to stand right still awhile
Beside some forest pool.
The reeds around it smell so fresh,
The waters look so cool!
Sometimes I just hop in and wade,
And have a lot of fun,
Playing with bugs that dart across
The water in the sun.

They lodge here at this little pool—
All sorts ef bugs and things
That hop about its shady banks,
Or dart along with wings,
Or ‘scamper on the water top,
As water-striders go,
Or strange back-swimmers upside down,
Using their legs to row,
Or the stiff, flashing dragon flies,
The gentle damoiselle,
The clumsy, sturdy water-bugs,
And scorpions as well,
That come on top to get fresh air
From homes beneath the pool,
Where water-boatmen have their nooks,
On pebbles, as a rule.

And then, behold! Kingfisher comes,
That great big royal bird!
To him what is the dragon fly
That. kept the pool life stirred?
Or water-tigers terrible
That murder bugs all day?
Kingfisher comes, and each of these
Would hide itself away!

He swoops and swallows what he will,
A stone-fly or a frog.
Wing’d things rush frightened through the air,
Others to hole and log.
The little pool that held them all
I watch grow very bare,
But fisher knows his hide and seek—
He’ll find some one somewhere!

Published in The Crisis, February 1927

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