Priscilla Jane Thompson

Priscilla Jane Thompson was born in 1871 in Rossmoyne, Ohio. A poet and lecturer, she taught at Sunday school at Zion Baptist Church and self-published two books of poetry, Ethiope Lays (1900) and Gleanings of Quiet Hours (1907). Her work inspired the Harlem Renaissance. She died on May 4, 1942.

Song of the Moon

Oh, a hidden power is in my breast,
A power that none can fathom;
I call the tides from seas of rest,
They rise, they fall, at my behest;
And many a tardy fisherís boat,
Iíve torn apart and set afloat,
From out their raging chasm.

For Iím an enchantress, old and grave;
Concealed I rule the weather;
Oft set I, the loverís heart a blaze,
With hidden power of my fulgent rays,
Or seek I the souls of dying men,
And call the sea-tides from the fen,
And drift them out together.

I call the rain from the mountainís peak,
And sound the mighty thunder;
When I wax and wane from week to week,
The heavens stir, while vain men seek,
To solve the mystíries that I hold,
But a bounded portion I unfold,
So nations pass and wonder.

Yea, my hidden strength no man may know;
Nor mystíries be expounded;
Iíll cause the tidal waves to flow,
And I shall wane, and larger grow,
Yet while man rack his shallow brain,
The secrets with me still remain,
He seeks in vain, confounded.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 29, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.


ĎTis a time for much rejoicing;
Let each heart be lured away;
Let each tongue, its thanks be voicing
For Emancipation Day.
Day of victory, day of glory,
For thee, many a field was gory!

Many a time in days now ended,
Hath our fathersí courage failed,
Patiently their tears they blended;
Neíer they to their, Maker, railed,
Well we know their groans, He numbered,
When dominions fell, asundered.

As of old the Red Sea parted,
And oppressed passed safely through,

Back from the North, the bold South, started,
And a fissure wide she drew;
Drew a cleft of Liberty,
Through it, marched our people free.

And, in memory, ever grateful,
Of the day they reached the shore,
Meet we now, with hearts eíer faithful,
Joyous that the storm is oíer.
Storm of Torture! May grim Past,
Hurl thee down his torrents fast.

Bring your harpers, bring your sages,
Bid each one the story tell;
Waft it on to future ages,
Bid descendants learn it well.
Kept it bright in minds now tender,
Teach the young their thanks to render.

Come with hearts all firm united,
In the union of a race;
With your loyalty well plighted,
Look your brother in the face,
Stand by him, forsake him never,
God is with us now, forever.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 19, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

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