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

James D. Corrothers, "The Road to the Bow" (1913)

Editor's Note: the image printed next to the poem is of Tancred August, President of Haiti. 

Ever and ever and anon,
After the black storm, the eternal, beautous bow!
Brother, to rosy-painted mists that arch beyond,
Blithely I go.

My brown men laurled and my lyre
Twined with immortal ivy for one little rippling song;
My “House of Golden Leaves” they praised and “passionate fire”--
But, friend, the way is long!

Onward and onward, up! away!
Though Fear all his banners in my face,
And my feet stumble, lo! The Orphean day!
Forward by God’s grace!

These signs are still before me: “Fear”
“Danger”, “Unprecedented” and I hear black “No”
Still thundering and “Churl.” Good Friend,
I rest me here–
Then to the glittering bow!

Loometh and cometh Hate in wrath,
Mailed Wrong, swart Servitutde and Shame, with bitter rue,
Nathless a Negro poet’s feet must tread the path 
The winged god knew.

Thus, my true Brother, dream-led, I
Forefend the anathema, following the span.
I hold my head as proudly high 
As any man.

Published in The Crisis, January 1913

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