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

Lucian B. Watkins, "Little Black Boy" (1921)

LITTLE black boy with your little black feet,
Fanned and tanned by the wild-winds fleet;
Caught and kissed by the morning's cool,
Christened with dew from the lily-cup pool:
Sable Youth! Crown Prince of Night!
Royal in the reign of Right!
Heaven-born Heart! naught can destroy
Your faith-bright visions, little black boy.
Little black boy with your little black hands,
Seared by desert suns and sands;
In the crucible of time,
Seasoned for your task sublime:
From the depth unto the height,
These shall bear your Lamp of Light;
These shall build your Rome and Troy,
Beyond life's mountains, little black boy.
Little black boy with your little black head,
Crinkled hair of midnight shred;
Mystic moons have wrought a grace
Into the molding of your face:
Lo, the splendor in your eyes,
Like a wonder in dark skies,
Seems a sign from worlds unknown,
Glory-gleams from a distant throne;—
Ah, it is your soul, O joy!—
God's gift of Love to the little black boy!


Published in The Brownies' Book, January 1921

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