The sky, lazily disdaining to pursue
The setting sun, too indolent to hold
A lengthened tournament for flashing gold,
Passively darkens for night’s barbeque,
A feast of moon and men and barking hounds.
A orgy for some genius of the south
White blood-hot eyes and cane-lipped scented mouth,
Surprised with making folk-songs from soul sounds.
The sawmill blows its whistle buzz-saws stop,
And silence breaks the bud of knoll and hill,
Soft settling pollen where plowed lands fulfill
The early promise of a bumper crop.
Smoke from the pyramid sawdust pile
Curls up, blue ghost of trees, tarrying low
Where only chips and stumps are left to show
The solid proof of former domicile.
Meanwhile, the men, with vestiges of pomp,
Race memories of king and caravan,
High-priest, an ostrich, and juju-man,
Go singing through the footpaths of the swamp.
Their voices rise…the pine trees are guitars,
Strumming, pine needles fall like sheets of rain..
Their voices rise.. the chorus of the cane
Is caroling a vesper to the stars..
O singers, resinous and soft your songs
Above the sacred whisper of the pines,
Give virgin lips to cornfield concubines,
Bring dreams of Christ to dusky cane-lipped throngs…..
Nathaniel Jean Toomer