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

William Stanley Braithwaite, "Easter Day" (1901)

Today I woke and looked upon the heath
   And odorous breath
Of lilies, and the sweet geranium,
   With the low hum

Of birds, spoke softly to my ears and said :
   "He who was dead
Lives once again — He rose 'twixt day and night
   In samite white.

And all the morn grew flush'd in subtle bloom;
   All death's sad gloom
Vanished; and joy, as when His foot touched earth
   Sprang into birth."

Then one did seem to stand in field nearby,
   And loudly cry:
"Step blithely midst the flow'rs, for I am He
   Of Calvary.

And when thou, too, hast borne thy cross thro' life,
   And won the strife ,
Like me, shalt thou emerge from death and rise
   With this great prize:

"Life's raiment cleansed with precious blood of mine;
   And radiant shine
Beside my Father's throne, three lilies in thine hair,
   As crown shalt wear."

Published in Colored American Magazine, April 1901

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