"Ode to the Sun" by Eloise Bibb Thompson

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June 5, 2021 

Ode to the Sun


Eloise Bibb Thompson

How many scenes, O sun,
Hast thou not shone upon!
How many tears, O light,
Have dropped before thy sight!
How many heart-felt sighs,
How many piercing cries,
How many deeds of woe,
Dost thy bright light not know!
How many broken hearts,
That are pierced by sorrow’s darts
How many maddened brains,
That are wild with passion’s rains;
How many soul-sick lives,
Stabbed with despair’s sharp knives,
Hast thou above the skies,
Not seen with thy radiant eyes!
Shine on, majestic one!
Shine on, O glorious sun!
And never fail to cheer
My life so dark and drear.
Whene’er thou shinest bright,
And show thy brilliant light,
The cares I know each day
Silently steal away.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 5, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“Ode to the Sun” originally appeared in Poems (Monthly Review Press, 1895).

Eloise Bibb Thompson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1878. She published her first book, Poems (Monthly Review Press, 1895), when she was seventeen years old. A graduate of the University of New Orleans, she taught in schools and worked as a feature writer for the Los Angeles Tribune. As a playwright, she also wrote Africannus (1922), based on the life of Marcus Garvey, and A Reply to the Clansman (1915), in response to D.W Griffith’s film Birth of a Nation. She died in 1928.
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song
(Library of America, 2020)

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Thanks to Anaïs Duplan, author of Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (Black Ocean, 2020), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read a Q&A about Duplan’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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