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

Gwendolyn B. Bennett, "Heritage" (1923)

I want to see the slim palm-trees,
Pulling at the clouds
With little pointed fingers. . . . 

I want to see lithe negro girls,
Etched dark against the sky
While sunset lingers.

I wan to hear the silent sands,
Singing to the moon
Before the Sphinx-still face. . . . 

I want to hear the chanting 
Around a heathen fire
Of a strange black race.

I want to breathe the Lotus flow'r,
Sighing to the stars
With tendrils drinking at the Nile. . . . 

I want to feel the surging 
Of my sad people's soul
Hidden by a minstrel-smile. 

Published in Opportunity, December 1923

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