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

Thomas Millard Henry, "To a Scientist" (1923)

I saw the sunset yesterday
Behind the gold and purple west.
My soul's a richer soul for aye,
Because upon my heart was pressed
Its dream-inspiring souvenir.

Last June when roses were in bloom,
I saw one rare one in the dew.
My heart beats faster, I presume,
Because it was so simply new —
So supra-sweet its atmosphere.

I hear men praying to behold
Some far-off glory, and to share
Some city built of finest gold;
But why should I have business there,
If it be lovelier than here?

If I'm too crude to entertain
The joy that's made for me on earth.
Would not you think me basely vain
To build a bridge across its worth
In search of something lovelier?

And I can count them by the score, —
Those beauties that have touched my life.
The souls untouched by them are poor;
And they will help you in the strife
Who are our civic pioneer.

Published in The Messenger, October 1923

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