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

James Edward McCall, "Countee Cullen" (1928)

Countee Cullen 

By James Edward McCall 

Out in the night, I hear a liquid note,
     I pause and listen, as it sweeter grows;
It is a singer with a golden throat, 
     And heart in which the fire of genius glows.
I hear him singing in the twilight hush–
     Caroling songs that warm the heart like sweet wine: 
No sweet-voiced nightingale or hermit-thrush
     Could thrill the world with music more divine. 
Though young in year, he sings as one whose heart 
     Has sung for ages. Yet he wears his crown, 
So modestly that men, thrilled by his art, 
     Pay tribute and forget that his face is brown. 
Unselfishly, his soul seeks to inspire 
     In other souls, divine poetic fire. 

Published in The Messenger, March 1928

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