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

Ethel Caution-Davis (Ethel M. Caution), "Long Remembering" (1928)

Long Remembering

By Ethel M. Caution 

If  I should go to sleep to-night
Knowing I ne'er should waken,
I would not be dismayed.
My soul, glad for release,
Would wing its way unto a long remembering

Of mornings spent upon the Siasconsett strand
Watching the sun rise
Dripping red spray from ocean's eastern rim.
Of hours on Narragansett's craggy coast
When, perched in solitude upon a rock,
Feet dipping in the spray,
I listened to the waves
Beat their high sounding paean on the shore.

Of evenings in mid-ocean when the moon
Laddered its path of gold
From sky down o'er the waves
To where I stood ship-bound
Trying to quench undying thirst
With wonder of the night.

Of dusk in distant balsam wood
When nature poured her evensong
From thrushes ' throat.

Of moments with a cardinal—
He perched upon a swaying pine ,

I tip-toe on the sod—
Talking to each other of happiness and God.

Of blue flags by a Carolina stream,
Of dogwood tracing petals pink
Against a silver sky.

Of flowers peeping through June snow at Scheideg;
Of Spietz reflected in the Thunensee;
Of English gardens
And purple heather hemming in the Scottish lochs

Of Capri's grotto blue
And cedars silhouetted against the Carmel sea.
Of lacy spires etched against the sky
Of Chartres and Senlis, St. Patrick's and Milan.

Of music in a child's unstudied laughter;
Of unexpected handclasps by the way.

If I should go to sleep to-night
Knowing I ne'er should waken
I would not be dismayed.
My pagan soul, if thus it be.
Clothed only in such robes as these
Would wing its way into Eternity
Asking that afterlife be long enough
For such remembering.

Published in The Crisis, October 1928

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