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

Lucian B. Watkins, "The Black Madonna And Her Babe" (1918)

She cradles him, her babe, upon her breast,
Great with this joy of all the earth most dear.
A lullaby, touched with a trembling tear.
She croons to Heaven; it is a prayer exprest
that he, her boy, may triumph in life's test.
He sleeps in dreamless peace, his listless ear
Close to her gentle heart of love sincere--
The strength that is her soul's immortal best. 
Madonna! many a son you offer up
On Truth's eternal Cross of Calvary;
And you have drunk of each's death brimming cup.
Down in the vale of God's Gethsemane.
Dear Lord! this woman and her children sup
The gall of death--for Boundless Liberty. 

Published in The Crisis, October 1918

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