Poem: If We Must Die – Claude Mckay

If we must die—let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Poem by Claude Mckay, from the book “Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970″ edited by Langson Huges and Arna Bontemps

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Poem: To Vanity – Darwin T. Turner

Doll, don’t be too proud of those eyes
Sparkling in their mascaraed skies;
Don’t be too vain that you now see
All hearts your captives; your still free;
And stop shaking that lustrous hair
And shedding dandruff on the air.
‘Cause that buck-nineteen rhinestone, dear,
That glitters from your pearlshell ear,
Will still be thought a pretty gem
When all your world of beauty’s dim.

Poem by Darwin T. Turner, from the book “Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970″ edited by Langson Huges and Arna Bontemps

Poem: I’ve Got A Home In That Rock – Raymond R. Patterson

I had an uncle, once, who kept a rock in his pocket–
Always did, up to the day he died.
And as far as I know, that rock is still with him,
Holding down some dust of his thighbone.

From Mississippi he’d got that rock, he’d say—
Or, sometimes, from Tennessee: a different place each time
He told it, how he’d picked it up when he first left home—
Running, he’d say—to remind him when times got hard
Enough to make him homesick, what home was really like.

Poem by Raymond R. Patterson, from the book “Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970” edited by Langson Huges and Arna Bontemps

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