The Lynching

His Spirit in smoke ascended to high heaven.
His father, by the cruelest way of pain,
Had bidden him to his bosom once again;
The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
All night a bright and solitary star
(Perchance the one that ever guided him,
Yet gave him up at last to Fate’s wild whim)
Hung pitifully o’er the swinging char.
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came
to view
The ghastly body swaying in the sun
The women thronged to look, but never a one
Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue;
And little lads, lynchers that were to be,
Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.

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Memorial

Your body was a sacred cell always,
A jewel that grew dull in garish light,
An opal which beneath my wondering gaze
Gleamed rarely, softly throbbing in the night.

I touched your flesh with reverential hands,
you were sweet and timid like a flower
That blossoms out of barren tropic sands,
Shedding its perfume in one golden hour.

You yielded to my touch with gentle grace,
And though my passion was a mighty wave
That buried you beneath its strong embrace,
You were yet happy in the moment’s grave.

Still more than passion consummate to me,
More than the nuptials immemorial sung,
Was the warm thrill that melted me to see
Your clean brown body, beautiful and young;

The joy in your maturity at length,
The peace that filled my soul like cooling wine,
When you responded to my tender strength,
And pressed your heart exulting into mine.

How shall I with such memories of you
In coarser forms of love fruition find?
No, I would rather like a ghost pursue
The fairy phantoms of my lonely mind.

Flirtation

Upon thy purple mat thy body bare
Is fine and limber like a tender tree.
The motion of thy supple form is rare,
Like a lithe panther lolling languidly,
Toying and turning slowly in her lair.
Oh, I would never ask for more of thee,
Thou art so clean in passion and so fair.
Enough! if thou wilt ask no more of me!

Courage

O lonely heart so timid of approach,
the shy tropic flower that shuts its lips
To the faint touch of tender finger tips:
What is your word?   What question would you
broach?

Your lustrous-warm eyes are too sadly kind
To mask the meaning of your dreamy tale,
Your guarded life too exquisitely frail
Against the daggers of my warring mind.

There is no part of the unyielding earth,
Even bare rocks where the eagles build their
nest,
Will give us undisturbed and friendly rest.
No dewfall softens this vast belt of dearth.

But in the socket-chiseled teeth of strife,
That gleam in serried files in all the lands,
We may join hungry, understanding hands,
And drink our share of ardent love and life.

A Prayer

‘Mid the discordant noises of the day I hear thee
calling;
I stumble as I fare along Earth’s way; keep me
from falling.

Mine eyes are open but they cannot see for gloom
of night;
I can no more than lift my heart to thee for in-
ward light.

The wild and fiery passion of my youth consumes
my soul;
In agony I turn to thee for truth and self-control.

For Passion and all the pleasures it can give will
die the death;
But this of me eternally must live, thy borrowed
breath.

‘Mid the discordant noises of the day I hear thee
calling;
I stumble as I fare along Earth’s way; keep me
from falling.

Dawn in New York

The Dawn!   The Dawn!   The crimson-tinted,
comes
Out of the low still skies, over the hills,
Manhattan’s roofs and spires and cheerless domes!
The Dawn! My spirit to its spirit thrills.
Almost the mighty city is asleep,
No pushing crowd, no tramping, tramping feet.
But here and there a few cars groaning creep
Along, above, and underneath the street,
Bearing their strangely-ghostly burdens by,
The women and the men of garish nights,
Their eyes wine-weakened and their clothes awry,
Grotesques beneath the strong electric lights.
The shadows wane.   The Dawn comes to New
York.
And I go darkly-rebel to my work.

Africa

The sun sought thy dim bed and brought forth
light,
The sciences were sucklings at thy breast;
When all the world was young in pregnant night
Thy slaves toiled at thy monumental best.
Thou ancient treasure-land, thou modern prize,
New peoples marvel at thy pyramids!
The years roll on, thy sphinx of riddle eyes
Watches the mad world with immobile lids.
The Hebrews humbled them at Pharaoh’s name.
Cradle of Power! Yet all things were in vain!
Honor and Glory, Arrogance and Fame!
They went. The darkness swallowed thee again.
Thou art the harlot, now thy time is done,
Of all the mighty nations of the sun.

In Bondage

I would be wandering in distant fields
Where man, and bird, and beast, lives leisurely,
And the old earth is kind, and ever yields
Her goodly gifts to all her children free;
Where life is fairer, lighter, less demanding,
And boys and girls have time and space for play
Before they come to years of understanding –
Somewhere I would be singing, far away.
For life is greater than the thousand wars
Men wage for it in their insatiate lust,
And will remain like the eternal stars,
When all that shines to-day is drift and dust
But I am bound with you in your mean graves,
O black men, simple slaves of ruthless slaves.

The Plateau

It was the silver, heart-enveloping view
Of the mysterious sea-line far away,
Seen only on a gleaming gold-white day,
That made it dear and beautiful to you.

And Laura loved it for the little hill,
Where the quartz sparkled fire, barren and dun,
Whence in the shadow of the dying sun,
She contemplated Hallow’s wooden mill.

While Danny liked the sheltering high grass,
In which he lay upon a clear dry night,
To hear and see, screened skilfully from sight,
The happy lovers of the valley pass.

But oh!  I loved it for the big round moon
That swung out of the clouds and swooned aloft,
Burning with passion, gloriously soft,
Lighting the purple flowers of fragrant June.

On Broadway

About me young and careless feet
Linger along the garish street;
     Above, a hundred shouting signs
Shed down their bright fantastic glow
     Upon the merry crowd and lines
Of moving carriages below.
Oh wonderful is Broadway – only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

Desire naked, linked with Passion,
Goes strutting by in brazen fashion;
     From playhouse, cabaret and inn
The rainbow lights of Broadway blaze
     All gay without, all glad within;
As in a dream I stand and gaze
At Broadway, shining Broadway – only
My heart, my heart is lonely.