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

In Memory of Col. Charles Young by Countee Cullen

Along the shore the tall, thin grass
   That fringes that dark river,
While sinuously soft feet pass,
   Begins to bleed and quiver.

The great dark voice breaks with a sob
   Across the womb of night;
Above your grave the tom-toms throb,
   And the hills are weird with light.

The great dark heart is like a well
   Drained bitter by the sky,
And all the honeyed lies they tell
   Come there to thirst and die.

No lie is strong enough to kill
   The roots that work below;
From your rich dust and slaughtered will
   A tree with tongues will grow.

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