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

George Leonard Allen, "The Negro Sings of Winds" (1928)

They call me! Ah, those never-ceasing winds!
And they have called me through the centuries
From those dim forests where the world begins,
From golden, sun-kissed lands beyond the seas!
Not bitter-breathing winds of ice and sleet,
Not tranquil zephyrs, murmuring soft and low,
But winds whose fierce caress is hot and sweet
With passion pale men’s hearts can never know!
Wild winds which whirled and danced across the plains,
Which whistled through the lurid jungle morn,
Which moaned among the hills their eerie strains
Ten thousand years before the Sphinx was born!
Strong winds which bore my fathers’ battle-cries,
Which roused their hearts to love, or calmed to peace ;— 

They call me! and within my spirit rise
Fierce yearnings aye, that cannot, will not cease!
And over countless leagues of swirling sea,
Through all the years, I've heard their wild refrain,
I’ve known the joy of their weird melody,
The fierce, ecstatic tumult of their pain!
And long as those impetuous winds shall blow,
Though paler men may never feel their surge,
My songs will bear their burthen! I shall know
Their fervent, fiery passion and their urge!
And though my spirit from that distant land
A thousand miles, a thousand years may sever,
I know those winds on that far, sun-warmed strand
Will call me back forever and forever!

Published in Opportunity, October 1928

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