Tell Me If

There is no such thing as happiness. Life bends joy and pain, beauty and ugliness, in such a way that no one may isolate them.

Jean Toomer, Cane

Tell Me

By Jean Toomer  (1894 – 1967)
 
Tell me, dear beauty of the dusk,
   When purple ribbons bind the hill,
    Do dreams your secret wish fulfill,
Do prayers, like kernels from the husk
 
Come from your lips? Tell me if when
    The mountains loom at night, giant shades
    Of softer shadow, swift like blades
Of grass seeds come to flower. Then
 
Tell me if the night winds bend
    Them towards me, if the Shenandoah
    As it ripples past your shore,
Catches the soul of what you send
 

 

Reapers

By Jean Toomer 
 
Black reapers with the sound of steel on stones
Are sharpening scythes. I see them place the hones   
In their hip-pockets as a thing that’s done,   
And start their silent swinging, one by one.   
Black horses drive a mower through the weeds,   
And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds.   
His belly close to ground. I see the blade,   
Blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade