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

William Stanley Braithwaite, "Rye Bread" (1927)

FATHER John's bread was made of rye,
Felicite's bread was white;
Father John loved the sun noon-high,
Felicite, the moon at night.

Father John drank wine with his bread;
Felicite drank sweet milk;
Father John loved flowers, pungent and red;
Felicite, lilies soft as silk.

Father John's soul was made of bronze,
That God's salt was corroding;
Felicite's soul was a wind that runs
With a blue flame of foreboding.

Between these two was the shadow of a dome
That cut their lives in twain;
But Dionysus led them home
In a chariot of pain.

Published in Caroling Dusk1927

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