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

Thomas Millard Henry, "Alas" (1924)


My loftier songs may never see the light,
Though fine as what some pompous bard can make.
Here's one inspired by the stomachache
Incurred by eating peanuts yesternight.
But luck can't hide the sparks, for sparks are bright
And should, because of darkness, win the cake,
(As Dunbar showed you in his glittering wake)
So fame again might treat song's victim white.
No Muses can rebel stomach rule;
She'll force them to the bread and cabbage class;
Thin walls divide the martyr and the fool,
And death is less inviting than the crass ;
I'm dragged into maudlin cabbage school
Because none had the heart to sound the brass.

Published in The Messenger, June 1924

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