African American Poetry (1870-1926): A Digital Anthology

Jessie Fauset, "Spring Songs" (1920)

The Runaway Kite

MY kite broke loose on a windy day,
And 'way, 'way up in the air it flew;
And though I've sought for it, far and near,
It has never come back from the lofty blue.
Now where does it stay, and what does it see,
And what all day long does it find to do?
I think that it floats on a snowy cloud
Or jauntily rides on a saucy breeze;
And when it gets weary it flutters down
To the shelter of tall and stately trees;
Or the fairies may use it as a sail
For their fairy barks that patrol the seas.

The Singing Top

ON sunny days I spin my top
From morning until noon;
It whirls in rings,
And hums and sings
This little pleasant tune,
"Sweet April comes, then leafy May,
And then comes golden June!"

The Teasing Hoop

MY hoop goes trundling down the street
And I go skipping after,
And as it bounds along so fleet,
It says with elfin laughter:
"Make up your mind that in this race
You're bound to have the second place,
No matter, child, how hard you try,
You cannot run as fast as I."

"Salt! Vinegar! Mustard! Pepper!"

SPRING evenings after supper
When we're all dressed up so neat,
We children take our skipping-rope
And play out in the street.
You never heard such noise and mirth,
Or saw such nimble feet.
We jump all sorts of fancy ways,—
"High water, water low",
And some of us jump "Double Dutch",—
We do it fast or slow ;
But "Vinegar, mustard, pepper, salt!"
Is the favorite, you know.

Adventures on Roller Skates

ON April afternoons I say,
"Mama, I'd like to skate today."
She thinks I'll play out in the street
With Maude and Harold Jones and Pete,—
But really I go far away.
Sometimes I skate in Switzerland,
With ice-clad hills on every hand;
Sometimes I'm off in Russia far,—
(They still talk there about the czar!)
I'm sorer here, you understand!
I skate in Greenland; Norway, too,
And skim its fiords of icy blue.
When I get back my mother calls,
"Come in before the dampness falls!"
She'd wonder if she really knew!

The Happy Organ-Grinder

THE organ man comes down our street
On afternoons of later May,
And just as soon as he appears,
I actually forget to play.
He is a ragged man and old,
His day's work ought to make him weary;
And yet he smiles and smiles at me
And always seems so bright and cheery.
Perhaps his organ keeps him so,—
He makes it play such glorious things!
And when he sees me listening there
He throws his gray head back and sings.
His song excites me, makes me know
I'm listening to some thrilling story.
My brother says the words are these,
"Frenchmen, arise, awake to glory!"


Published in The Brownies' Book, May 1920

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