Lieth, like shadow on the wild, sweet flowers.
The dream, the ecstasy that prompts my powers,
The golden lyre’s delights, bring little grace
To bless the singer of a lowly race.
Long hath this mocked me: aye, in marvelous hours,
When Hera’s gardens gleamed, or Cynthia’s bowers,
Or Hope’s red pylons, in their far, hushed place!
But I shall dig me deeper to the gold;
Fetch water, dripping, over desert miles
From clear Nyanzas and mysterious Niles
Of love; and sing, nor one kind act withhold.
So shall men know me, and remember long,
Nor my dark face dishonor any song.
[From Negro Poets and their Poems]