Pour O pour that parting soul in song, O pour it in the sawdust glow of night. Into the velvet pine-smoke air to-night.
And let the valley carry it along. And let the valley carry it along.
O land and soil, red soil and sweet-gum tree, So scant of grass, so profligate of pines, Now just before an epoch’s sun declines.
Thy son, in time, I have returned to thee, Thy son, in time, I have returned to thee,
In time, for though the sun is setting on A song-lit race of slaves, it has not set; Though late, O soil, it is not too late yet.
To catch thy plaintive soul, leaving, soon gone, Leaving, to catch thy plaintive soul soon gone.
O Negro slaves, dark purple ripened plums, Squeezed and bursting in the pine-wood air,
Passing before they stripped the old tree bare, One plum was saved for me, one seed becomes.
An everlasting song, a singing tree, Caroling softly souls of slavery,
What they were, and what they are to me, Caroling softly souls of slavery . . .
Nathaniel Jean Toomer