Life in the Moment

The poem below acknowledges the cycles of life and expresses deep appreciation for living life in the moment. In honor of Black History Month…

AN AUTUMN DAY

By Thompson, Clara Ann (1869-1949), Songs From the Wayside

I sat in the door of our cottage,
One golden autumn day,
And the breezes stirring the tree-tops,
Were as soft as those of May.

But looking away to the woodland,
Through hazy autumn air,
The red and gold of the forest leaves,
Proclaimed the frost-touch there.

The grass was still green in the pasture,
Where soft-eyed cattle trod,
And down in the deep, sheltered valleys,
Were asters and golden rod.

But I knew the merciless frost-king,
Would come with might, erelong,
And blast all the green things remaining,
And still the sweet bird-song.

So my heart drank in the warm beauty,
Of that soft autumn day,
With a wistful love for ev’rything,
So soon to pass away.

February and Friendship

In honor of Black History Month, allow me to share a few words I wrote a long time ago about friendship and prejudice from a lesser known but important author of the late 19th and early 20th centuries:
In itself, prejudice is an obstacle which few people can surmount. As an intellectual, set apart from the majority of his social contacts simply because of his interests, Chesnutt experienced another sense of isolation in his unfulfilled need for intimacy. In his journal he states:
“I hear colored men speak of their ‘white friends.’ I have no white friends. I could not degrade the sacred name of ‘friendship’ by associating it with any man who feels himself too good to sit at a table with me, or to sleep at the same hotel… I hope yet to have a friend. If not in this world, then in some distant eon, when men are emancipated from the grossness of flesh, and mind can seek out mind; then shall I find some kindred spirit, who will sympathize with all that is purest and best in mine, and we will cement a friendship that shall endure throughout the ages.”*

Charles W Chesnutt
Charles W Chesnutt, African American author, essayist, political activist and lawyer

*J. Noel Heermance, Charles W. Chesnutt (Hamden, Connecticut: Show String Press, 1974), p. 61
This excerpt is from my Honors Thesis, “Charles Waddell Chesnutt: Short Fiction on the Color Line”