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

Norma Hendricks, "The Mulatto" (1928)

WITHIN my pulses beat a thousand dawns.
Flushed with the fire of jungles; pride of a race
Begotten of dark chieftains, lithe with the grace
Of somber jungle-trees; doomed to be pawns
Of defter, shrewder peoples than they were.
Joy in a heritage of color and flame,
Dancing and song that death can never claim,—
All these within my pulses beat and stir
And mingle with an ominous intent,
Born out of distant silence, from the heart
Of that far shrewder people arrogant,
And cooly sure, who play the kingly part.
I saw a malamute, once, strain and cry
Between the pack and team. Lo, it was I. 

Published in Opportunity, June 1928

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