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Showing posts from January, 2021

Poem #25: O Black and Unknown Bards by James Weldon Johnson

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Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes Title :  O Black and Unknown Bards Author :  James Weldon Johnson Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem O black and unknown bards of long ago, How came your lips to touch the sacred fire? How, in your darkness, did you come to know The power and beauty of the minstrel's lyre? Who first from midst his bonds lifted his eyes? Who first from out the still watch, lone and long, Feeling the ancient faith of prophets rise Within his dark-kept soul, burst into song?     Heart of what slave poured out such melody As "Steal away to Jesus"? On its strains His spirit must have nightly floated free, Though still about his hands he felt his chains. Who heard great "Jordan roll"? Whose starward eye Saw chariot "swing low"? And who was he That breathed that comforting, melodic sigh,

Poem #24: Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson

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Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes Title :  Lift Ev'ry Voice Author :  James Weldon Johnson Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem Lift every voice and sing    Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the listening skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.    Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won. Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;    Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaught

Poem #23: At the Closed Gate of Justice by James David Corrothers

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes Title :  At the Closed Gate of Justice Author :  James David Corrothers Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem To be a Negro in a day like this     Demands forgiveness. Bruised with blow on blow, Betrayed, like him whose woe dimmed eyes gave bliss     Still must one succor those who brought one low, To be a Negro in a day like this. To be a Negro in a day like this     Demands rare patience—patience that can wait In utter darkness. ’Tis the path to miss,     And knock, unheeded, at an iron gate, To be a Negro in a day like this. To be a Negro in a day like this     Demands strange loyalty. We serve a flag Which is to us white freedom’s emphasis.     Ah! one must love when Truth and Justice lag, To be a Negro in a day like this. To be a Negro in a day like this—     Alas! Lord God, what evil have we don

Poem #22: Paul Laurence Dunbar by James David Corrothers

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Estimated Reading Time:  3.5 minutes Title :  Paul Laurence Dunbar Author :  James David Corrothers Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem He came, a youth, singing in the dawn   Of a new freedom, glowing o’er his lyre,   Refining, as with great Apollo’s fire,   His people’s gift of song. And thereupon, This Negro singer, come to Helicon   Constrained the masters, listening to admire,   And roused a race to wonder and aspire,   Gazing which way their honest voice was gone, With ebon face uplit of glory’s crest.   Men marveled at the singer, strong and sweet,   Who brought the cabin’s mirth, the tuneful night, But faced the morning, beautiful with light,   To die while shadows yet fell toward the west,   And leave his laurels at his people’s feet.   Dunbar, no poet wears your laurels now;   None rises, singing, from your race like you

Review: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi My rating: 4 of 5 stars Csikszentmihalyi's book is a classic text that many folks who read books about self-help, learning, gaming, and productivity are likely to be very familiar with by proxy. It's one of those books that one likely knows the gist of but I would strongly encourage to sit down and actually read (or listen) to get its full impact. At the center of Csikszentmihalyi's research is this idea that there are situations wherein people enter in a stage ("flow"), wherein they find themselves incredibly engaged with whatever it is that they are doing to the point that it may be nearly euphoric. One thing that Csikszentmihalyi emphasizes is that flow isn't necessarily just "enjoying" the activity but finding one's grounding in engaging in the activity in a way that changes the outcomes--often in beneficial ways. But what Csikszentmihalyi does is highligh

Poem #21: I Can Trust by Daniel Webster Davis

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Estimated Reading Time:  3 minutes Title :  I Can Trust Author :  Daniel Webster Davis Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem I can not see why trials come, And sorrows follow thick and fast; I can not fathom His designs, Nor why my pleasures can not last, Nor why my hopes so soon are dust, But, I can trust. When darkest clouds my sky o'er hang, And sadness seems to fill the land, I calmnly trust His promise sweet, And cling to his ne'er failing hand, And, in life's darkest hour, I'll just Look up and trust. I know my life with Him is safe, And all things still must work for good To whose who love and serve our God, And lean on Him as children should, Though hopes decay and turn to dust, I still will trust. Reflection It's funny, some themes for poetry are almost never out of season.  Contemplations on love, death,

Poem #20: "They Are Coming?" by Josephine Delphine Henderson Heard

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Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes Title :  "They Are Coming?" Author :  Josephine Delphine Henderson Heard Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem They are coming, coming slowly — They are coming, surely, surely — In each avenue you hear the steady tread. From the depths of foul oppression, Comes a swarthy-hued procession, And victory perches on their banners' head. They are coming, coming slowly — They are coming; yes, the lowly, No longer writhing in their servile bands. From the rice fields and plantation Comes a factor of the nation, And threatening, like Banquo's ghost, it stands. They are coming, coming proudly They are crying, crying loudly: O, for justice from the rulers of the land! And that justice will be given, For the mighty God of heaven Holds the balances of power in his hand. Prayers have risen, risen,

Poem #19: Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League by Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr.

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Estimated Reading Time:  3.5 minutes Title :  Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League Author :  Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr. Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem ’Tis strange indeed to hear us plead    For selling and for buying When yesterday we said: “Away    With all good things but dying.” The world’s ago, and we’re agog    To have our first brief inning; So let’s away through surge and fog    However slight the winning. What deeds have sprung from plow and pick!    What bank-rolls from tomatoes! No dainty crop of rhetoric     Can match one of potatoes. Ye orators of point and pith,    Who force the world to heed you, What skeletons you’ll journey with    Ere it is forced to feed you. A little gold won’t mar our grace,    A little ease our glory. This world’s a better biding place     When money clinks its sto

Poem #18: Frederick Douglass by Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr.

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Estimated Reading Time:  3.5 minutes Title :  Frederick Douglass Author :  Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr. Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem O eloquent and caustic sage! Thy long and rugged pilgrimage       To glory's shrine has ended; And thou hast passed the inner door, And proved thy fitness o'er and o'er,       And to the dome ascended. In speaking of thy noble life One needs must think upon the strife       That long and sternly faced it; But since those times have flitted by, Just let the useless relic die       With passions that embraced it. There is no evil known to man But what, if wise enough, he can       Grow stronger in the bearing; And so the ills we often scorn May be of heavenly wisdom born       To aid our onward faring. Howe'er this be, just fame has set Her jewels in thy coronet       So firmly that t

Poem #17: A January Dandelion by George Marion McClellan

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes Title :  A January Dandelion Author : George Marion McClellan Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere Like desert sand, when the winds blow, There is each moment sifted through the air, A powdered blast of January snow. O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed, Was folly growth and blooming over soon. And yet, thou blasted yellow-coated gem, Full many a heart has but a common boon With thee, now freezing on thy slender stem. When the heart has bloomed by the touch of love’s warm breath Then left and chilling snow is sifted in, It still may beat but there is blast and death To all that blooming life that might have been. Reflection Writing about this poem in January feels ever so fitting. Here are another one of those poem

Poem #16: The Feet of Judas by George Marion McClellan

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Estimated Reading Time:  4.5  minutes Title :  The Feet of Judas Author : George Marion McClellan Source :   African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927 . Dover Thrift Editions. Ed. Joan R. Sherman. 1997. ISBN:  978-0-486-29604-3. Link : You can find  this poem on this website . Poem Christ washed the feet of Judas! The dark and evil passions of his soul, His secret plot, and sordidness complete, His hate, his purposing, Christ knew the whole, And still in love he stooped and washed his feet.   Christ washed the feet of Judas! Yet all his lurking sin was bare to him, His bargain with the priest, and more than this, In Olivet, beneath the moonlight dim, Aforehand knew and felt his treacherous kiss.   Christ washed the feet of Judas! And so ineffable his love ’twas meet, That pity fill his great forgiving heart, And tenderly to wash the traitor’s feet, Who in his Lord had basely sold his part.   Christ washed the feet of Judas! And thus a girded servant, self-abased, Taught that n