Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance: African American Women Writers 1900-1922

The After-Glow of Pain (Clara Ann Thompson)

A youth, with proud heart, pure and strong,
   And eye with hope aflame.
Goes forth to join the busy throng,
   And win success, and fame.
He presses on, with eager feet,
   Adown the sunny way;
As yet, he knows naught of defeat,
And to the struggling ones he meets,
   Gives little sympathy.
But soon the dark clouds gather 'round.
   The storm breaks overhead,
The wild winds howl, the rain comes down,
   The lightning flashes red.
But when, the last cloud swept away,
   The sun shines out again,
The youth emerges from the fray,
With softened heart, and sympathy.
   The afterglow of pain.
A maiden, full of life and love.
   Goes singing on her way;
To measured strains her light feet move,
   And joyous is her day.
A transient shade comes o'er her face,
   When told some tale of pain,
But soon a bright smile fills its place,
The song that slackened, for a space.
   Goes lightly on again.
But hark! the song at last is still;
   The smiles are changed to tears;
Dark, troubled thoughts, her young heart fill,
   And doubts, and gloomy fears.
"Ah me!" we say, "her song is o'er,
   And 'twas a joyful strain,"
But list! the midden sings once more,
A sweeter song than e'er before.
   The afterglow of pain.
'Tis thus, 'tis thus, the infant dies,
   The parents look above;
False friends deceive us on the way,
   We seek the Greater Love.
And so the threads of grief, that run
   Through life, may prove our gain ;
The noblest deeds that e'er were done.
The sweetest songs that e'er were sung.
   Are afterglows of pain.

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