Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jupiter Hammon

Jupiter Hammon

An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penitential Cries

by Jupiter Hammon
Salvation comes by Christ alone,
   The only Son of God;
Redemption now to every one,
   That love his holy Word.

Dear Jesus, we would fly to Thee,
   And leave off every Sin,
Thy tender Mercy well agree;
   Salvation from our King. 

Salvation comes now from the Lord,
   Our victorious King.
His holy Name be well ador'd,
   Salvation surely bring.

Dear Jesus, give thy Spirit now, 
   Thy Grace to every Nation,
That han't the Lord to whom we bow,
   The Author of Salvation.

Dear Jesus, unto Thee we cry,
   Give us the Preparation;
Turn not away thy tender Eye;
   We seek thy true Salvation.

Salvation comes from God we know,
   The true and only One;
It's well agreed and certain true,
   He gave his only Son.

Lord, hear our penetential Cry:
   Salvation from above;
It is the Lord that doth supply,
   With his Redeeming Love.

Dear Jesus, by thy precious Blood,
   The World Redemption have:
Salvation now comes from the Lord,
   He being thy captive slave.

Dear Jesus, let the Nations cry,
   And all the People say,
Salvation comes from Christ on high,
   Haste on Tribunal Day.

We cry as Sinners to the Lord,
   Salvation to obtain; 
It is firmly fixed, his holy Word,
   Ye shall not cry in vain.

Dear Jesus, unto Thee we cry,
   And make our Lamentation:
O let our Prayers ascend on high;
   We felt thy Salvation.

Lord, turn our dark benighted Souls;
   Give us a true Motion,
And let the Hearts of all the World,
   Make Christ their Salvation.

Ten Thousand Angels cry to Thee,
   Yea, louder than the Ocean.
Thou art the Lord, we plainly see;
   Thou art the true Salvation.

Now is the Day, excepted Time;
   The Day of the Salvation;
Increase your Faith, do not repine:
   Awake ye, every Nation.

Lord, unto whom now shall we go,
   Or seek a safe abode?
Thou has the Word Salvation Too,
   The only Son of God.

Ho! every one that hunger hath,
   Or pineth after me,
Salvation be thy leading Staff,
   To set the Sinner free.

Dear Jesus, unto Thee we fly;
   Depart, depart from Sin,
Salvation doth at length supply,
   The Glory of our King.

Come, ye Blessed of the Lord,
   Salvation greatly given;
O turn your Hearts, accept the Word,
   Your Souls are fit for Heaven. 

Dear Jesus, we now turn to Thee,
   Salvation to obtain;
Our Hearts and Souls do meet again,
   To magnify thy Name.

Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,
   The Object of our Care;
Salvation doth increase our Love;
   Our Hearts hath felt they fear. 

Now Glory be to God on High, 
   Salvation high and low;
And thus the Soul on Christ rely,
   To Heaven surely go.

Come, Blessed Jesus, Heavenly Dove,
   Accept Repentance here;
Salvation give, with tender Love;
   Let us with Angels share.  Finis.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Excerpt from: Essay on the Negro's Creative Genius by James Weldon Johnson - The year 1922

 The Negro in the United States has achieved or been
placed in a certain artistic niche. When he is thought
of artistically, it is as a happy-go-lucky, singing, shuffling,
banjo-picking being or as a more or less pathetic figure.
The picture of him is in a log cabin amid fields of cotton
or along the levees. Negro dialect is naturally and by
long association the exact instrument for voicing this
phase of Negro life; and by that very exactness it is an
instrument with but two full stops, humor and pathos.
So even when he confines himself to purely racial themes,
the Aframerican poet realizes that there are phases of
Negro life in the United States which cannot be treated
in the dialect either adequately or artistically. Take,
for example, the phases rising out of life in Harlem, that
most wonderful Negro city in the world. I do not deny
that a Negro in a log cabin is more picturesque than a
Negro in a Harlem flat, but the Negro in the Harlem
flat is here, and he is but part of a group growing every-
where in the country, a group whose ideals are becom-
ing increasingly more vital than those of the traditionally
artistic group, even if its members are less picturesque.

(Could this be what Johnson was speaking about?)

What the colored poet in the United States needs to
do is something like what Synge did for the Irish; he needs

to find a form that will express the racial spirit by
symbols from within rather than by symbols from with-
out, such as the mere mutilation of English spelling
and pronunciation. He needs a form that is freer and
larger than dialect, but which will still hold the racial
flavor; a form expressing the imagery, the idioms, the
peculiar turns of thought, and the distinctive humor and
pathos, too, of the Negro, but which will also be capable
of voicing the deepest and highest emotions and aspira-
tions, and allow of the widest range of subjects and the
widest scope of treatment. 
(Yes, something like this!)

Johnson wrote the words above in in the early part of the 20th century. It would appear that the  African American of his future more than rose to the occasion, in creating multiple, lasting forms of  art that not only impacted the Black American but provided a means of expression to people the world over. 
 Click here to consult The book of American Negro Poetry and
 see the Preface for more of the Essay on the Negro's Creative Genius

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The book of American Negro Poetry - Produced by James Weldon Johnson (1922)

Chosen and Edited, with an Essay on the Negro's Creative Genius

Following is an excerpt from the preface of this book. 
This alone should pique your interest enough 
to stimulate you to continue reading. Enjoy :)

A people may become great through many means, but
there is only one measure by which its greatness is recog-
nized and acknowledged. The final measure of the great-
ness of all peoples is the amount and standard of the
literature and art they have produced. The world does
not know that a people is great until that people pro-
duces great literature and art. No people that has pro-
duced great literature and art has ever been looked upon
by the world as distinctly inferior.

The status of the Negro in the United States is more
a question of national mental attitude toward the race
than of actual conditions. And nothing will do more
to change that mental attitude and raise his status than
a demonstration of intellectual parity by the Negro
through the production of literature and art.

Is there likelihood that the American Negro will be
able to do this? There is, for the good reason that he
possesses the Innate powers. He has the emotional en-
dowment, the originality and artistic conception, and,
what is more important, the power of creating that which
has universal appeal and influence.

I make here what may appear to be a more startling
statement by saying that the Negro has already proved
the possession of these powers by being the creator of the
only things artistic that have yet sprung from American
soil and been universally acknowledged as distinctive
American products.

Author: Johnson, James Weldon, 1871-1938
Subject: American poetry -- African American authors
Publisher: New York : Harcourt, Brace and Company
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT

THE SECOND LOUISIANA. "The Black Regiment"

MAY 27, 1863. 

Dark as the clouds of even, 
Ranked in the western heaven, 
Waiting the breath that lifts 
All the dread mass, and drifts 
Tempest and falling brand 
Over a ruined land ; — 
So still and orderly, 
Arm to arm, knee to knee, 
Waiting the great event, 
Stands the black regiment. 

Down the long dusky line 
Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine ; 
And the bright bayonet, 
Bristling and firmly set, 
Flashed with a purpose grand, 
Long ere the sharp command 
Of the fierce rolling drum 
Told them their time had come, 
Told them what work was sent 
For the black regiment. 

"Now," the flag-sergeant cried, 
"Though death and hell betide, 
Let the whole nation see 
If we are fit to be 
Free in this land ; or bound 
Down, like the whining hound — 
Bound with red stripes of pain 
In our old chains again \" 
Oh ! what a shout there went 
From the black regiment ! 

" Charge !" Trump and drum awoke, 
Onward the bondmen broke ; 
Bayonet and sabre-stroke 
Vainly opposed their rush. 
Through the wild battle's crush, 
With but one thought aflush, 
Driving their lords like chaff, 
In the guns' mouths they laugh ; 

Or at the slippery brands 
Leaping with open hands, 
Down they tear man and horse, 
Down in their awful course; 
Trampling with bloody heel 
Over the crashing steel, 
All their eyes forward bent, 
Rushed the black regiment. 

" Freedom !" their battle-cry — 
" Freedom ! or leave to die I" 
Ah ! and they meant the word, 
Not as with us 'tis heard, 
Not a mere party-shout : 
They gave their spirits out ; 
Trusted the end to God, 
And on the gory sod 
Rolled in triumphant blood. 
Glad to strike one free blow, 
Whether for weal or woe ; 
Glad to breathe one free breath, 
Though on the lips of death. 
Praying — alas ! in vain ! — 
That they might fall again, 
So they could once more see 
That burst to liberty ! 
This was what " freedom" lent 
To the black regiment. 

Hundreds on hundreds fell ; 
But they are resting well ; 
Scourges and shackles strong 
Never shall do them wrong. 
0, to the living few, 
Soldiers, be just and true ! 
Hail them as comrades tried ; 
Fight with them side by side ; 
Never, in field or tent, 
Scorn the black regiment !

  1. The First and Third Regiments of Louisiana Native Guards bravely attacked Port Hudson on May 27, 1863. Some newspaper correspondents mistakenly reported that it was the Second Regiment which had taken part in the assault. In the summer of 1863 Boker's poem circulated in the antislavery press under the title "The Second Louisiana" (see also "The Second Louisiana" in the Christian Recorder, June 13, 1863, and "The Second Louisiana"in the Anglo-African, June 27, 1863). Boker probably wrote the poem in response to early reports, then changed the title to "The Black Regiment" when the mistake became apparent.
    "Col. Daniel's Second Louisiana negro regiment distinguished itself . . . especially in charging upon the enemy's siege guns, losing killed and wounded over 600," reported the Boston Daily Evening Transcript of June 6, 1863 (quoted by James G. Hollandsworth, The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience during the Civil War [Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995], 63). "Nobly done, Second Regiment of Louisiana," proclaimed the Liberator a fortnight later. General Nathaniel Banks's official report praised the First and Third Regiments. The Anglo-African of June 13, 1863, brushed aside reporters' confusion as to which Louisiana regiments had taken part in the battle: "It is immaterial which statement is true, so long as the great fact remains;that no such fighting has been seen since the war began." 
    Go back
  2. Here—and at several other points in the poem—Boker all but quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson's famous "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1854). These deliberate references situate the Louisiana soldiers as an African American "Light Brigade" of equal and indisputable bravery. Boker's contemporaries drew the same parallel: a "special" for the Boston Journal reported that "We never saw a more literal rendering of Tennyson's famous 'Charge of the Light Brigade' [than] on the upper works of Port Hudson" (reprinted in the Anglo-African, June 27, 1863)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Muhammad Ali Poem - Attica Prison

Muhammad Ali  was known for his spontaneous outbursts of poetry during interviews.
Here's an evocative poem by Ali, on his feeling about the Attica prison massacre, that isn't often seen.

 Click here if you're not familiar with the Attica Riot and Massacre. 

Def Jam Poetry

Def Poetry, also known as Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry or Def Poetry Jam, which was co-founded by Bruce George, Danny Simmons and Deborah Pointer, is an HBO television series produced by hip-hop music entrepreneur Russell Simmons. The series presents performances by established spoken word poets, as well as up-and-coming ones. Well-known actors and musicians will often surprise the audience by showing up to recite their own original poems. The show is hosted by Mos Def. Def Poetry is a spin-off of Def Comedy Jam. As he did on Def Comedy, Simmons appears at the end of every episode to thank the audience.

Motives And Thoughts ~ Lyrically Spoken by Lauryn Hill (Def Poetry)

KRS One and Doug E Fresh - 2nd Quarter on Def Jam Poetry

Michael Franti - Rock the Nation on Def Jam Poetry

Phylicia Rashad — On Status by Vivian Ayers on Def Jam Poetry

Jazz Poetry by Langston Hughes

- The Weary Blues

Jazz poetry
It was with the advent of the Harlem Renaissance that jazz poetry developed into what it is today.

Poets like Langston Hughes incorporated the syncopated rhythms and repetitive phrases of blues and jazz music into their writing. Many Harlem Renaissance writers were deeply concerned with racial pride and with the creation of purely African-American poetry. Since jazz music was an important part of African-American culture at the time, Hughes and others like him adapted the musical genre to create their own, singularly African-American voices that could easily be distinguished from the work of white poets. Many of Hughes' poems, such as "The Weary Blues," sound almost exactly like popular jazz and blues songs of the period, and vice versa. His work is also highly evocative of spirituals.

A selection of Poetry by "Angela Jackson"

Maya Angelou :

born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928)

Maya and Malcolm
"She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, castmember of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. She has also been an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. Since 1982, she has taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Since the 1990s she has made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961." -wikipedia

The Haiku Poetry of Richard Wright

Following are some of the Haiku poems of
Richard Wright (1908 - 1960)
African American author of "Black Boy" and "Native Son

An apple blossom
Trembling on a sunlit branch
From the weight of bees.

I am nobody:
A red sinking autumn sun
Took my name away.

In the setting sun,
Each tree bud is clinging fast
To drying raindrops.

Make up you mind, Snail!
You are half inside your house,
And halfway out!

The crow flew so fast
That he left his lonely caw
Behind in the fields.

The webs of spiders
Sticking to my sweaty face
In the dusty woods.

One magnolia
Landed upon another
In the dew-wet grass.

Spring begins shyly
With one hairpin of green grass
In a flower pot.

Wright was a prolific writer of Haiku
visit  Terebess Asia Online
For more info and many more of Wright's Haiku poems