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

Joseph S. Cotter, "To Bishop Hood" (1919)


[Photo caption: The late Bishop J.W. Hood of the A.M.E. Zion Church. Born Mary 13, 1831 at Kenneth Township PA. Died October 31, 1918 at Fayetteville, NC] 


PURE speech, sure speech, speech that always blends
With the rugged mettle of a foe's or friend's,
Is thine, good preacher, thine.

Fair ways, rare ways, ways that lead us on 
To the fuller morning from a meager dawn,
Are thine, wise preacher, thine. 

New thought, true thought, thought that points the way
Through doubt's mists and shadows to good
God's man-wrought day,
Is thine, brave preacher, thine. 

Old faith, bold faith, faith whose anchors still
Grapple in the fastness of the sane man's will,
Is thine, firm preacher, thine. 

Far dreams, star dreams, dreams that hedge us in
From the rocks of passion and the shoals of sin,
Are thine, great preacher, thine. 

Clean life, serene life, life that knows not shame,
Life that's writ in service on the scroll of fame,
Is thine, loved preacher, thine. 

Published in The Crisis, January 1919

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