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

Lida Keck-Wiggins, "Bouquet Charlie" (1906)

Poor and black is "Bouquet Charlie."
No one knows another name
People call him simple minded,
And laugh at him---What a shame!

Nothing very strange about him,
Save the story that they tell
Of his always wearing flowers
In his shabby coat lapel .

Once I asked him ,---"Bouquet Charlie ,
Tell me why from day to day
Never have I failed to find you
With a button-hole bouquet?"

Quick his dim old eyes grew tearful,
Mothah's gone to heaben, suh,
An ' when dyin ' mother axed me
Please to wear a rose fo' huh!"

Poor and black is "Bouquet Charlie,"
Simple minded, so they say,
But a royal decoration
Is his button-hole bouquet.

And of those who laugh at Charlie,
Is there one who in earth's strife
Is so loyal to a mother
Every day of all his life?

Published in Voice of the Negro, March 1906

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