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

Joseph S. Cotter, Sr., "Dem Phillupeeners" (1909)

 Well, Phillupeeners, how's yo' health? 
 I don' ax how's yo' playin', 
 I 'specs de angels heahs by stealth 
 An' coins it in a sayin'. 
 I 'specs dey's plannin' big ovations ; 
 I 'specs dey'll send sum invitations 
 To all de music-lovin' nations 
 To bless you Phillupeeners. 
 Jes' heah 'em once, an' afterwerds 
 Yo'll heah 'em, heah 'em ever, 
 De notes dey plays will come in herds 
 An' heah 'em, heah 'em ever. 
 Dey'll fust be best, an' den dey'll flee 
 Right on to find de next degree, 
 An' still right on until you see 
 Music, not Phillupeeners. 
 If you would live anudder life 
 An' still live dis you lives heah, 
 If you would turn yo' loss an' strife 
 To gains dat always gives heah, 
 If you would lose yo' appertite 
 Fer all de things dat plagues de sight, 
 An' think up straight an' feel upright, 
 Jes' heah dem Phillupeeners. 
 De white man plays until you dreams 
 Yo' life's a kind o' story; 
 De white man plays until you seems 
  To peep right into glory. 
 Dat's good enough. Dis world widout it 
 Would go wid mournin' wropped about it, 
 But laziness! He jes' cyarn't rout it, 
 Like dem brown Phillupeeners. 
 Heah's to de music dat you plays 
 Upon dem inst'uments, 
 Heah's to de music dat you lays  
 Up fer yo' own contents. 
 Pleah's to yo' sense dat makes yo' luck, 
 Heah's to yo' Phillupeener pluck, 
 An' heah's good will from Old Kaintuck 
 To all you Phillupeeners. 

Published in A White Song and a Black One (1909)

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