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

Effie Lee Newsome, "Magnificat" (1922)

In lapis lazuli—
Such azure shot with gold!—
On domes of sanctity
That chiseled tribute hold,
Or breathe the Word through breath of brush
In ripened tones and old;

Through silence and in state—
Still splendors everywhere!—
Earth's tribute from earth's great
Steeped deep in incensed air,
With praise imprint on wall and floor,
And even shadows there;

Cathedrals strive to voice
The thanks of mild Mary,
Who found herself the choice
For immortality,
When, lowly-born, there came the word
Earth's Mother she should be.

God, we, thy lowly race,
Would thank thee for such grace.
Though we have never been
Welcome at earthly inn,
Thy glorious Son swung wide
Those gates that scoff at pride.

And guard a Realm of Equity,
Wherein abides the Wisdom Holy
Which shapes high purpose for the lowly.

Published in The Crisis, December 1922

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