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

Josephine Turpin Washington, "To Elizabeth" (1907)

Little maid of gentle mien,
In all the wide, wide world, I ween
There beats no kinder, purer heart
Than thine, so free from guile and art,
My own sweet girl, Elizabeth.

Thou hast the charm, loved one, that lies
In wavy locks and shining eyes;
But, God be thanked that in thy face
I find a more than earthly grace;—
My noble girl, Elizabeth!

Serene, sincere, unselfish, true
A glimpse of Heaven in thee I view;
Thy presence chases care away
And turns the darkest night to day,
My daughter dear, Elizabeth.

I ask not that the future bring
The things whose praises worldlings sing:
Nor wealth, nor name, nor power e'en
These gifts of earth I count too mean
To crave for thee, Elizabeth.

God keep thee through the coming days,
Let modest worth crown all thy ways;
To serve where needed be thy aim;
Thy goal the truth, instead of fame
I pray for thee, Elizabeth.

Published in Colored American Magazine, August 1907

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