19th century African-American American Poetry Black History Grimke Poetry Uncategorized

“Wordsworth” by Charlotte L. Forten Grimke (1837 – 1914)



Poet of the serene and thoughtful lay!
In youth’s fair dawn, when the soul, still untried,
Longs for life’s conflict, and seeks restlessly
Food for its cravings in the stirring songs,
The thrilling strains of more impassioned bards;
Or, eager for fresh joys, culls with delight
The flowers that bloom in fancy’s fairy realm —
We may not prize the mild and steadfast ray
That streams from thy pure soul in tranquil song
But, in our riper years, when through the heat
And burden of the day we struggle on,
Breasting the stream upon whose shores we dreamed,
Weary of all the turmoil and the din
Which drowns the finer voices of the soul;
We turn to thee, true priest of Nature’s fane,
And find the rest our fainting spirits need, —
The calm, more ardent singers cannot give;
As in the glare intense of tropic days,
Gladly we turn from the sun’s radiant beams,
And grateful hail fair Luna’s tender light.