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

James D. Corrothers, "Years That Are To Come" (1905)

Stream of Time, each wavelet year
   Shall lose its own in thee,
From source unknown to disappear
   In vales of mystery.
Though vast and deep they move along ,
   Thy waters be not glum ;
For, list ! they chant a murmured song
   Of years that are to come.

O years that are to come, I know
   Not what ye hide from me,
In thy dark waters, as they flow
   Into eternity;
What joy commingles with the tears.
   That fleck thy veiling foam ,
O far, dim, mystic , silent years
   Long years which are to come.

O years, the years that passed, we may
   Behold them wind along
Thro ' Memory's pleasant , shady way ,
   And list their low, sweet song;
But ye, still years , so gently steal
   Us hence and bear us home,
We scarce the languid current feel,
   O years that are to come.

Majestic river, deep in thee
   Embosomed secrets hide ,
That ne'er shall reach humanity –
   Save with thy moving tide.
The magic of their beauty shall
   Make poets of the dumb
When faltered songs, like mine, must fail
   In years that are to come.

How sweet thy mellow song shall be,
   When thou hast lulled asleep
The discords of humanity
   That make thee sob and weep .
The music of thy moving then
   Will thrill the hearts of some;
For Peace shall walk the earth again,
   In years that are to come.

O vestal waters robed in haze!
   O mirrored, tranquil tide!
On thy enchanted course I gaze,
   As on thy ripples glide;
Tho ' in the dark depth pictures gleam ,
   I hear a voice speak low:
"You dream, but, ah ! were Life a dream,
   Time's waters would not flow."

Flow, O thou stream incessant flow .
   Nor reck ' if in thy wave
The leaves of sorrow fall like snow ,
   And storms around may rave .
The storms that fret thy bosom wide
   Must in the distance cease ;
And leaves in thy resistless tide
   Shall be submerged in peace.

O years that still shall roll along,
   When I am silent clay,
If, 'chance, ye find this faltering song,
   Do with it as ye may;.
But, sweetly as the morning bright
   Dispels the shrouding gloom,
Turn thy dark features to the light,
   O years that are to come.

Published in Colored American Magazine, January 1905

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