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

Olivia Ward Bush Banks, "Treasured Moments" (1899)


For a time away from the tumult,
  Shut in from the care and the strife,
Away from the gloom and the discord,
  That seemed to encircle my life.
Shut in with the dear, earnest women–
  Women with hearts true and strong,
Who dared to face a great evil,
  Who dared to contend against wrong.

And the speaker's words were so cheering,
  As she talked to us of the time
When the women crusaded together;
  How they battled against the wine.

How they fought against deadly poison;
  How they struggled again and again,
Till some homes were made better and brighter,
  Till some hearts were robbed of their pain.

Then the speaker's tones grew more tender,
  As she spoke of a life so complete,
That many lives caught the essence
  Of her life so full and so sweet;

Who had just stepped over the threshold,
  And had entered the "Great Beyond,"
Life's labor so nobly completed,
  Heaven's blessing triumphantly won.

Then sweet rose the voice of the singer,
  Singing of "Christ and the Cross,"
Till my soul cried loudly within me
  "I'll count everything but as dross."

For His sake who bore our great burden,
  Who labored and suffered so long;
And my heart grew glad for the singer,
  And I said: "O praise God for the song!"

Ah! how I was strengthened, uplifted.
  How the depths of my soul were stirred;
And the words, the song and the music
  Seemed the sweetest I ever had heard.

I thought when that hour was ended,
  I shall cherish its memory so long;
I shall think of the words so inspiring.
  I shall think of the singer, the song.

As I wended my way again homeward,
  Possessed with a sweet, nameless peace,
I thought of the great Life Eternal
  Where such moments as these never cease.

Where there's fullness of joy forever,
  Where we meet an unbroken band,
Shut in with the dear, blessed Master;
  Resting safe at the Father's right hand.

This page has tags: