“The Bean Eaters” by Gwendolyn Brooks



Listen to “The Bean Eaters” below:


The Bean Eaters” by GWENDOLYN BROOKS

Read by Teyuna T. Darris

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.

Dinner is a casual affair.

Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,

Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.

Two who have lived their day,

But keep on putting on their clothes

And putting things away.

And remembering …

Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,

As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Bean Eaters” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1963 by Gwendolyn Brooks.

“The Gift to Sing” by James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938)


Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.

“Puente” by Nicolás Guillén (1920 – 1989)


PUENTE

¿Lejos?

Hay un arco tendido
que hace viajar la flecha
de tu voz.

Continue reading “Puente” by Nicolás Guillén (1920 – 1989)

“After the Winter” by Claude McKay (1889–1948)


Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
     And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
     Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,

God Looked Down


God Looked Down by Teyuna T. Darris

This Life is a Good Life


This Life is a Good Life by Teyuna T. Darris

“Ships That Pass In The Night” by Paul Laurence Dunbar


Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing;

I look far out into the pregnant night,

Where I can hear a solemn booming gun

And catch the gleaming of a random light,

That tells me that the ship I seek is passing, passing.

My tearful eyes my soul’s deep hurt are glassing;

For I would hail and check that ship of ships.

I stretch my hands imploring, cry aloud,

My voice falls dead a foot from mine own lips,

And but its ghost doth reach that vessel, passing, passing.

O Earth, O Sky, O Ocean, both surpassing,

O heart of mine, O soul that dreads the dark!

Is there no hope for me? Is there no way

That I may sight and check that speeding bark

Which out of sight and sound is passing, passing?

“A Grain of Sand” by Frances E. W. Harper


Do you see this grain of sand
Lying loosely in my hand?
Do you know to me it brought
Just a simple loving thought?
When one gazes night by night
On the glorious stars of light,
Oh how little seems the span
Measured round the life of man.

Oh! how fleeting are his years
With their smiles and their tears;
Can it be that God does care
For such atoms as we are?
Then outspake this grain of sand
‘I was fashioned by His hand
In the star lit realms of space
I was made to have a place.

‘Should the ocean flood the world,
Were its mountains ‘gainst me hurled
All the force they could employ
Wouldn’t a single grain destroy;
And if I, a thing so light,
Have a place within His sight;
You are linked unto his throne
Cannot live nor die alone.

In the everlasting arms
Mid life’s dangers and alarms
Let calm trust your spirit fill;
Know He’s God, and then be still.’
Trustingly I raised my head
Hearing what the atom said;
Knowing man is greater far
Than the brightest sun or star.

“Church Building” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper


Uncle Jacob often told us,
Since freedom blessed our race
We ought all to come together
And build a meeting place.

So we pinched, and scraped, and spared,
A little here and there:
Though our wages was but scanty,
The church did get a share.

And, when the house was finished,
Uncle Jacob came to pray;
He was looking mighty feeble,
And his head was awful gray.

But his voice rang like a trumpet;
His eyes looked bright and young;
And it seemed a mighty power
Was resting on his tongue.

And he gave us all his blessing –
‘Twas parting words he said,
For soon we got the message
The dear old man was dead.

But I believe he’s in the kingdom,
For when we shook his hand
He said, ‘Children, you must meet me
Right in the promised land;

‘For when I done a moiling
And toiling here below,
Through the gate into the city
Straightway I hope to go.’

“Night of Love” by Paul Laurence Dunbar


The moon has left the sky, love,

The stars are hiding now,

And frowning on the world, love,

Night bares her sable brow.

The snow is on the ground, love,

And cold and keen the air is.

I’m singing here to you, love;

You’re dreaming there in Paris.

But this is Nature’s law, love,

Though just it may not seem,

That men should wake to sing, love;

While maidens sleep and dream.

Them care may not molest, love,

Nor stir them from their slumbers,

Though midnight find the swain, love.

Still halting o’er his numbers.

I watch the rosy dawn, love,

Come stealing up the east,

While all things round rejoice, love,

That Night her reign has ceased.

The lark will soon be heard, love,

And on his way be winging;

When Nature’s poets, wake, love,

Why should a man be singing?