From the Dark Tower
(To Charles S. Johnson)
We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute,
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;
Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made eternally to weep.
The night whose sable breast relieves the stark
[sable = black]
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bloom at all
In light, but crumple, piteous, and fall;
So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds,
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.
1. What's Romantic
(or not) about the poem?
1a. As the poem is written by an
African American poet, what pressures to read the poem either separately from
part of it?
2. What gothic
elements are identifiable? What mood or tone do they build?
2a. If the gothic
color code appears, how do
the standard Western values of light / white = good and dark / black = evil
change from an African American perspective or voice?
color codes in Langston
Variations" & Countee Cullen,