Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue
Harlemdeep, dark flower of the west
With girls for hollow stamens ribbed with joys,
Reject the easy sun, be wary lest
It shrivel up the pollen of your boys.
Together you must grow your flower anew,
Not asking whose the gain or whose the gold;
Together you must silence winds that blew
Your fragrant copper petals to be sold
And not for beautys dress or beautys walls.
Remember that the X-ray of the years
Reveals the rotting of the shallow halls
Within the petals veins, reveals the fears
The copper petals must be conscious of
If they would hold their life. Grow strong or starve.
Owen Dodson (November 28, 1914—June 21, 1983) was chair of the Drama Department at Howard University from 1940 to 1970. His three books of poems are Powerful Long Ladder (1940), The Confession Stone: Song Cycles (1970), and The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978). His two novels are Boy at the Window (1951) and Come Home Early Child (1977). Dodson wrote over 30 plays, operas, and works for theater, including Divine Comedy (1938), The Garden Time (1939), Bayou Legend (1948), Medea in Africa (1959), The Confession Stone (1960), and Till Victory is Won (1965). To read more about this author: Taquiena Boston and Vera J. Katz on Owen Dodson: Forebears Issue