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“Oh yes, the baskets—you came all these miles to sell them?”
“We jus' had to have money t' rent a plow,
Or else we won't have no co’n—
It's plantin' time.”

“But your husband P’’—he sat there lumpish.
Her voice grew soft as the pink-petalled wind
In the apple-blossoms:
“He nevah c’d sell no baskets—
Besides, I couldn' let him come alone.”

THE ROSE-BUSH

“Old Mammy Jones, I came to see your rose-bush.”
“Come right up, sonny!”
“Why does your rose-bush grow so taller and prouder
Than any white people's roses?”
“Dunno, sonny—ask de good Lo'd.”
“Look, it has a thousand arms,
And they carry a million roses
In their baskets of leaves—
Over your roof, Mammy Jones,
Into your porch, into your wood-shed,
Pushing and crowding out everything
From the ground to the sky—
As round as the world!”

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“My mother has a garden, Mammy Jones,
With nice little rose-bushes in it
That the gardener trimmed,
And this morning there were pink and yellow buds
And lots of green ones.
But not roses and roses like yours,
Way up for God to smell 'em

In the sky!

Why is it, Mammy Jones?”

“Dunno, sonny—praps de good Lo'd like Mammy Jones;
Praps he give a bouquet to his gal.”

THE QUESTION

They were sauntering down the red road
As I passed them—
The round-lipped black woman and her child.
And the child was saying:
“Why's white folks better'n us, Mammy?
What's white folks, anyhow P”

THE MEETING

The ox-team and the automobile
Stood face to face on the long red road.
The long red road was narrow

At the turn of the hill,

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And below was the sun-dancing river
Afoam over the rocks.

The mild-mannered beasts stood pat, chewing their cud.
The stubble-bearded man from the mountains,
Rustier than his wagon,
Unmoving eyed the proud chauffeur.
The little ragged girl .

With sun-bleached hair,
Sitting on a hard, yellow-powdery bag,
Looked across at the smart motor hats of the ladies,
And their chiffon scarfs -
That the light breeze fingered.

The proud chauffeur blew his horn,
But nothing moved—
Except the foaming, sun-dancing river down below.

Then he jerked his head,

And turned his wheel.

And slowly, carefully,
The automobile moved back over the long red road.

And the mild-mannered beasts lifted their feet,

And the stubble-bearded man flipped his rein,

And the ragged little girl looked ahead up the hill.

And the ox-team lumbered and limped over the long red road.

APRIL-NORTH CAROLINA

Would you not be in Tryon
Now that the spring is here,

When mocking-birds are praising
The fresh, the blossomy year?

Look—on the leafy carpet
Woven of winter's browns

Iris and pink azaleas
Flutter their gaudy gowns.

The dogwood spreads white meshes—
So white and light and high—

To catch the drifting sunlight
Out of the cobalt sky.

The pointed beech and maple,
The pines, dark-tufted, tall,

Pattern with many colors
The mountain's purple wall.

S. Hark—what a rushing torrent
Of crystal song falls sheer!
Would you not be in Tryon
Now that the spring is here?
Harriet */

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GAS-LAMP, GHOST

Out of the blue-gray dusk

He comes—

The ghostly one,

The gray one, -
Driving his ghostly wagon.
Nearer he comes, and nearer,

Silent

Except for his singing flower
That burns a violet hole in the air,
That melts a violet hole in the snowy dusk.

He comes with a flower of burning mist
On the tip of a copper stalk;
He comes with a misty flower that sings
And burns a violet hole
In the blue-gray dusk.

He touches dark stems in a row,
He tips them with his hot mist-flower,
Stem after stem;

And one by one

They bloom, and glow,
And have white flowers on them,
And burn pale blue holes, green ghastly holes,
In the silent air, -
In the blue-gray snowy dusk.

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