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

Poems by Alex Rogers in "The Book of American Negro Poetry" (1922)

WHY ADAM SINNED

"I heeard da ole folks talkin' in our house da other night
'Bout Adam in da scripchuh long ago.
Da lady folks all 'bused him, sed, he knowed it wus'n right
An' 'cose da men folks dey all sed, "Dat's so."
I felt sorry fuh Mistuh Adam, an' I felt like puttin' in,
'Cause I knows mo' dan dey do, all 'bout whut made Adam sin:
Adam nevuh had no Mammy, fuh to take him on her knee
An' teach him right fum wrong an' show him
Things he ought to see.
I knows down in my heart—he'd-a let dat apple be
But Adam nevuh had no dear old Ma-am-my.
He nevuh knowed no chilehood roun' da ole log cabin do',
He nevuh knowed no pickaninny life.
He started in a great big grown up man, an' whut is mo',
He nevuh had da right kind uf a wife.
Jes s'pose he'd had a Mammy when dat temptin' did begin
An' she'd a come an' tole him
"Son, don' eat dat—dat's a sin."
But, Adam nevuh had no Mammy fuh to take him on her knee
An' teach him right fum wrong an' show him
Things he ought to see.
I knows down in my heart he'd a let dat apple be,
But Adam nevuh had no dear old Ma-am-my.

THE RAIN SONG

Bro. Simmons

"Walk right in Brother Wilson—how you feelin' today?"

Bro. Wilson

"Jes Mod'rate, Brother Simmons, but den I ginnerly feels dat way."

Bro. Simmons

"Here's White an' Black an' Brown an' Green; how's all you gent'men's been?",

Bro. White

"My health is good but my bus'ness slack."

Bro. Black

"I'se been suff'rin' lots wid pains in my back."

Bro. Brown

"My ole 'ooman's sick, but I'se alright—"

Bro. Green

"Yes, I went aftuh Doctuh fuh her 'tuther night—"

Bro. Simmons

"Here's Sandy Turner, as I live!"

Bro. Turner

"Yes, I didn' 'spect to git here—but here I is!"

Bro. Simmons

"Now, gent'mens, make yo'selves to home,
Dare's nothin' to fear—my ole 'ooman's gone—
My stars; da weather's pow'ful warm—
I wouldn' be s'prised ef we had a storm."

Bro. Brown

"No, Brother Simmons, we kin safely say—
'Tain't gwine to be no storm to-day
Kase here am facts dat's mighty plain
An' any time you sees 'em you kin look fuh rain:
Any time you hears da cheers an' tables crack
An' da folks wid rheumatics—dare jints is on da rack—"
All

"Lookout fuh rain, rain, rain.

"When da ducks quack loud an' da peacocks cry,
An' da far off hills seems to be right nigh,
Prepare fuh rain, rain, rain!
"When da ole cat on da hearth wid her velvet paws
'Gins to wipin' over her whiskered jaws,
Sho' sign o' rain, rain, rain!
"When da frog's done changed his yaller vest,
An' in his brown suit he is dressed,
Mo' rain, an' still mo' rain!
"When you notice da air it Stan's stock still,
An' da blackbird's voice it gits so awful shrill,
Dat am da time fuh rain.
"When yo' dog quits bones an' begins to fas',
An' when you see him eatin'; he's eatin' grass:
Shoes', trues', cert'nes sign ob rain!"

Refrain

"No, Brother Simmons, we kin safely say,
'Tain't gwine tuh be no rain to-day,
Kase da sut ain't fallin' an' da dogs ain't sleep,
An' you ain't seen no spiders fum dare cobwebs creep;
Las' night da sun went bright to bed,
An' da moon ain't nevah once been seen to hang her head;
If you'se watched all dis, den you kin safely say,
Dat dare ain't a-gwine to be no rain to-day."

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