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

Nellie R. Bright (Nellie Rathbone Bright), "To One Who Might Have Been My Friend" (1927)

Do you remember how that glowing morn
We stood hands clasped beside an amber pool
Of lilies pale as your fair skin, and cool
On my brown cheek was the misty breath of dawn?
You said, "We too are friends, for we were born
To dwell at beauty's shrine. There is no rule
That being brown and fair, we play the fool
'Til friendship flee, a tarnished gleam forlorn."

'Twas then I saw amid the thin-leaved grass
Th souls of dead men and men yet to be;
Blue fires, old thrilling hopes that leaped and died
When you in dread, a childhood friend espied--
And seeing his slow smile, you shrank from me--
Then, ... my faith dead ... I turned ... and ... let ... you pass.

Published in Black Opals, Christmas 1927
Also published in Carolina Magazine, May 1928

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