Additional Poems By Gwendolyn Bennett Essay Research

Additional Poems By Gwendolyn Bennett Essay, Research Paper


I am weaving a song of waters,

Shaken from firm, brown limbs,

Or heads thrown back in irreverent mirth.

My song has the ush sweetness

Of moist, dark lips

Where hymns keep company

With old forgotten banjo songs.

Abandon tells you

That I sing the heart of race

While sadness whispers

That I am the cry of a soul. . . .

A-shoutin’ in de ole camp-meeting-place,

A-strummin’ o’ de ole banjo.

Singin’ in de moonlight,

Sobbin’ in de dark.

Singin’, sobbin’, strummin’ slow . . .

Singin’ slow, sobbin’ low.

Strummin’, strummin’, strummin’ slow . . .

Words are bright bugles

That make the shining for my song,

And mothers hold down babies

To dark, warm breasts

To make my singing sad.

A dancing girl with swaying hips

Sets mad the queen in the harlot’s eye.

Praying slave

Jazz-band after

Breaking heart

To the time of laughter . . .

Clinking chains and minstrelsy

Are wedged fast with melody.

A praying slave

With a jazz-band after . . .

Singin’ slow, sobbin’ low.

Sun-baked lips will kiss the earth.

Throats of bronze will burst with mirth.

Sing a little faster,

Sing a little faster,



Lines Written at the Grave of Alexandre Dumas

Cemeteries are places for departed souls

And bones interred,

Or hearts with shattered loves.

A woman with lips made warm for laughter

Would find grey stones and roving spirits

Too chill for living, moving pulses . . .

And thou, great spirit, wouldst shiver in thy granite shroud

Should idle mirth or empty talk

Disturb thy tranquil sleeping.

A cemetery is a place for shattered loves

And broken hearts . . .

Bowed before the crystal chalice of thy soul,

I find the multi-colored fragrance of thy mind

Has lost itself in Death’s transparency.

Oh, stir the lucid waters of thy sleep

And coin for me a tale

Of happy loves and gems and joyous limbs

And hearts where love is sweet!

A cemetery is a place for broken hearts

And silent thought . . .

And silence never moves,

Nor speaks nor sings.



I shall hate you

Like a dart of singing steel

Shot through still air

At even-tide,

Or solemnly

As pines are sober

When they stand etched

Against the sky.

Hating you shall be a game

Played with cool hands

And slim fingers.

Your heart will yearn

For the lonely splendor

Of the pine tree

While rekindled fires

In my eyes

Shall wound you like swift arrows.

Memory will lay its hands

Upon your breast

And you will understand

My hatred.



I shall make a song like you hair . . .

Gold-woven with shadows green-tinged,

And I shall play with my song

As my fingers might play with your hair.

Deep in my heart

I shall play with my song of you,

Gently. . . .

I shall laugh

At its sensitive lustre . . .

I shall wrap my song in a blanket,

Blue like your eyes are blue

With tiny shots of silver.

I shall wrap it caressingly,

Tenderly. . . .

I shall sing a lullaby

To the song I have made

Of your hair and eyes . . .

And you will never know

That deep in my heart

I shelter a song for you

Secretly. . . .




He came in silvern armour, trimmed with black–

A lover come from legends long ago–

With silver spurs and silken plumes a-blow,

And flashing sword caught fast and buckled back

In a carven sheath of Tamarack.

He came with footsteps beautifully slow,

And spoke in voice meticulously low.

He came and Romance followed in his track . .

I did not ask his name–I thought him Love;

I did not care to see his hidden face.

All life seemed born in my intaken breath;

All thought seemed flown like some forgotten dove.

He bent to kiss and raised his visor’s lace . . .

All eager-lipped I kissed the mouth of Death.


Some things are very dear to me–

Such things as flowers bathed by rain

Or patterns traced upon the sea

Or crocuses where snow has lain . . .

The iridescence of a gem,

The moon’s cool opalescent light,

Azaleas and the scent of them,

And honeysuckles in the night.

And many sounds are also dear–

Like winds that sing among the trees

Or crickets calling from the weir

Or Negroes humming melodies.

But dearer far than all surmise

Are sudden tear-drops in your eyes



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