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

Sterling Brown (Sterling A. Brown), "Old Man Buzzard" (1928)

Old Man Buzzard
Wid his bal' head
Flopped in de fiel'
An' eyed young Fred
Clacked his beak, an' 
Den he said---

"Youse got a plump gal,
Roun' an' strong,
Promise she'll love you,
Woan go wrong.
Lemme tell yo', big boy,
Cain't las' long.

"Buddy on de nex' farm,
Good ole frien',
Got no dimes,
But what he'll len',
Friendship fine,
But friendship en'---

"Yo' gits good vittels
Likes yo' co'n,
Ain' been sick
Sence yo' was bawn.
All sich good luck
Soon be gone.

"Death comes a-orderin'
Folks aroun,
Got blacksnake whip
Bring yuh down
Yo' frien' caint help yo'
Nor yo' brown"

Fred look up,
When he hear dis trash.
Grin crack his mouth
An' de lightnin' flash,
Th'o' back his head
An' de thunder crash---

Whoever sent yo'
Tell him, say
Fred, 'leave frettin'
Fo' nother day.'
Mistah Bal' head Buzzard,
Git away!

"Doan give a darn
Ef de good things go,
Game rooster yit,
Still kin crow
Somp'n in my heart here
Makes me so.

"In roas'n ear time
A man eats co'n.
Dough he knows in winter,
Co'ns all gone.
Worry's no good
To whet teeth on.

"No need in frettin'
Case good times go
Things ez dey happen
Jes' is so Nothin' las' always
Farz I know. . . ."

Published in Carolina Magazine, May 1928

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