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…
James Weldon Johnson
O Sleep, thou kindest minister to man,
Silent distiller of the balm of rest,
How wonderful thy power, when naught else can,
To soothe the torn and sorrow-laden breast!
When bleeding hearts no comforter can find,
When burdened souls droop under weight of woe,
When thought is torture to the troubled mind,
When grief-relieving tears refuse to flow;
‘Tis then thou comest on soft-beating wings,
And sweet oblivion’s peace from them is shed;
But ah, the old pain that the waking brings!
That lives again so soon as thou art fled!
Man, why should thought of death cause thee to weep;
Since death be but an endless, dreamless sleep?
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior
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