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

Ralph W. Tyler, "A Prayer" (1907)

Ralph W. Tyler, "A Prayer" (1907)

O Father, God of the universe wide!
Humbly, lo these many years , have we prayed
To Thee that hand of injustice be stayed,
And, that a Christ-led world ever abide
In peace, doing right unto men of dark
Skin as to proud Lucifer, who reckons
That the Star of Hope beams for, nor beckons
None save whose face doth bear Noah's mark.

Shall we, Lord, continue to suffer hate
The many wrongs that manhood debase, damn
Lives of them Thou divinely did create,
With skin a darker hue, for son of Ham,
Than Lucifer, or, remembering gyves,
Cease to ornate with patience humble lives?

In ten million breasts is nursed the hope,
Flickering like candle-light though it be,
Through divine dispensation we may grope
From out our segregated sphere and see,
Beyond years of transgression , some token
Of the promised mercy Thou hath spoken.

Merciful God, we know not now Thy will,
But as in the past, so in days to come;
Throughout all the long waiting years, until
Reason be dethroned complete, will we hum
The solacing words, "Thy will be done here
As Above," while Thy wrath we pray and fear.

Published in Colored American Magazine, November 1907

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