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

Kelsey Percival Kitchel, "Slave's Song" (1916)

Ah, whether I loved you, who can say?
What of the chaff that lies i’ the way
Of the wind blown off of the desert grey?
(But I love you now–how well!)
You choose me for love and I went with you 
Yielding as reeds that the stream runs through–
What was a broken heart to you?
(But you taught me to love you well!) 
Un-eager I was for your first long kiss– 
Unstirred was my blood to your touch that is
Today of fire, for Beloved, this
Is verily love’s own spell. 
My body and soul are yours to mend
Or break or yet to with your own to blend.
Ah, Master, keep me until the end–
I have learned to love too well!

Published in The Crisis. May 1916    

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