African American Poetry (1870-1927): A Digital Anthology

Sterling A. Brown, "Challenge" (1927)

CHALLENGE

I SAID, in drunken pride of youth and you
That mischief-making Time would never dare
Play his ill-humoured tricks upon us two,
Strange and defiant lovers that we were.
I said that even Death, Highwayman Death,
Could never master lovers such as we,
That even when his clutch had throttled breath,
My hymns would float in praise, undauntedly.
I did not think such words were bravado.
Oh, I think honestly we knew no fear,
Of Time or Death. We loved each other so.
And thus, with you believing me, I made
My prophecies, rebellious, unafraid....
And that was foolish, wasn't it, my dear?


Published in Caroling Dusk, 1927