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

Joseph S. Cotter, Sr., "Answer to Dunbar's 'A Choice'" (1898)

They please me so — these solemn lays 
That tell what God to man decrees. 
The world so seldom mends its ways 
That poets should by swift degrees 
Put back the frail, bring forth the strong, 
And wed stern facts to sober song 
With a ring so clear that our barks must steer 
To the haven where the God-kissed air 
Makes the soul-wine sweet through its earth-brewed lees. 

Published in Joseph S. Cotter, "Links of Friendship" (1898) 

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