Poetry, VOLUME 12

James Weldon Johnson: Five Favorite Poems

Today (June 17) marks the birthday of James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), who was not only a poet, but  also a distinguished educator and diplomat…

Here are five of our favorite poems by him…

The Gift to Sing
James Weldon Johnson

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day–
I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.

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