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

Sterling A. Brown, "Maumee Ruth" (1927)


Might as well bury her
And bury her deep,
Might as well put her
Where she can sleep.
Might as well lay her
Out in her shiny black;
And for the love of God
Not wish her back.
Maum Sal may miss her
Maum Sal, she only
With no one now to scoff
Sal may be lonely....
Nobody else there is
Who will be caring
How rocky was the road
For her wayfaring;
Nobody be heeding in
Cabin, or town
That she is lying here
In her best gown.
Boy that she suckled
How should he know
Hiding in city holes
Sniffing the 'snow'?
And how should the news
Pierce Harlem's din
To reach her baby gal,
Sodden with gin?
To cut her withered heart
They cannot come again,
Preach her the lies about
Jordan and then
Might as well drop her
Deep in the ground
Might as well pray for her
That she sleep sound. ...

Published in Caroling Dusk, 1927

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