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

Joseph S. Cotter, "The Prophet" (1920)

He saw Life masquerade in Babylon,
He saw Life jaded by the mystic Nile,
While weaving tapestry of brick and sone
To mesh its merriment and seal its smile.
He brought the fore-time to this after-time,
He questioned workers, warriors, poets, sages.
Then whispered to himself: 'Nor tribe, nor clime,
Nor God, nor Devil can unwed the ages.'

The Prophet felt the ache that we are feeling,
The Prophet saw the greed that bows us under;
And heard the echo of our tense appealing
For brotherhood that dares not halt nor blunder.
The Past will be the Present. Let us make
To-day to-morrow for our children's sake. 

Published in The Crisis, August 1920

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