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

The Easter Bonnet

John, look what Mis' Nelson give me,
   When I cleaned for her today;
Mean, close-fisted, old white woman!
   'Clare, I'll throw the thing away!

You may just say I've gone crazy,
   When I wear a thing like that;
Just look at that 'bomination!
   Who would call that thing a hat?

What say? 'Beggars can't be choosers?'
   Didn't ask her for the thing —
Only said that Easter's coming,
   An' I'd need a hat this spring.

Then she went upstairs a-prancing.
   And I looked for something grand;
Next I knew, she come down, grinning.
   With this fool thing in her hand. 

Guess she knew I didn't like it,
   For I just made out to say:
Much obliged to you Mis' Nelson, —
   Got right up and come away.

John, I saw hats in her closet,
   That she only bought last year,
An' says now they're out of fashion,
   That I'd be too glad to wear.

But she would'nt give them to me,
   'Fraid I'd hold my head too high;
Giving me this old-time bonnet!
   'Clare, I'm mad enough to cry.

"Oh, don't mind old Mrs. Nelson,
   Been an old fool all her life;
I'll buy you your Easter bonnet;
   She don't have to clothe my wife.

But I can't help laughing, Jennie,
   When I see that turned-up nose;
Ha! ha! ha! guess you'll quit hinting
   For the white-folks cast-off clothes. 

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