Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SONG OF THE SMOKE, by WILLIAM EDWARD BURGHARDT DU BOIS



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THE SONG OF THE SMOKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I am the smoke king
Last Line: I am black.
Alternate Author Name(s): Du Bois, W. E. B.
Subject(s): African Americans; Negroes; American Blacks


I am the Smoke King,
I am black!
I am swinging in the sky,
I am wringing worlds on awry;
I am the thought of the throbbing mills,
I am the soul of the soul-toil kills,
Wraithe of the ripple of trading rills,
Up I'm curling from the sod,
I am whirling home to God.
I am the Smoke King,
I am black.

I am the Smoke King,
I am black!
I am wreathing broken hearts,
I am sheathing love's light darts;
Inspiration of iron times,
Wedding the toil of toiling climes,
Shedding the blood of bloodless crimes --
Lurid lowering 'mid the blue,
Torrid towering toward the true,
I am the Smoke King,
I am black.

I am the Smoke King,
I am black!
I am darkening with song,
I am hearkening to wrong!
I will be black as blackness can --
The blacker the mantle the mightier the man!
For blackness was ancient ere whiteness began.
I am daubing God in night,
I am swabbing Hell in white:
I am the Smoke King,
I am black.

I am the Smoke King,
I am black!
I am cursing ruddy morn,
I am nursing hearts unborn:
Souls unto me are as stars in the night,
I whiten my black men -- I beckon my white!
What's the hue of a hide to a man in his might?
Hail, great, gritty, grimy hands --
Sweet Christ, pity toiling lands!
I am the Smoke King,
I am black.





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