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

The Gift by Carrie Williams Clifford

A priceless gift within your hand is laid,
A jewel fashioned by the Master's art;
No fleck or flaw bedims its perfect heart,
More precious than are emeralds—opals--jade.
This gift, for which gold never can be paid,
Is freely given by a Friend, whose part
It is to teach its magic--to impart
A knowledge of the why the gift was made.
Possession of this talismanic gift,
Like old Aladdin's wonder-lamp, will lift
Earth mortals high as heaven, rightly used;
But doom to Stygian darkness, if abused.
'Tis yours to will what picture shall appear:
The gift, a pure, unsullied, glad New Year!

(From The Widening Light [1922])

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