Poem-a-Day - "A Reverie" by Mary Weston Fordham

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January 15, 2022 

A Reverie

Mary Weston Fordham

You may speak of a grave in a distant land,
    Or of one neath ocean’s foam,
Where the dolphins play o’er the sunny spray,
    Far from the dear old home;
Where the coral peaks form a glorious tomb,
    And the mighty waters lave,
But there is naught in the wide world sought
    Like the heart’s deep anguished grave.

You may tell of a grave neath the burning sands
    Of the tropics fevered zone;
Where silence reigns o’er the desert plains
    So desolate, so forlorn.
Where the lion’s roar is the liveliest sound
    That o’er that waste is heard—
And the forest bird hymns a plaintive lay,
    A requiem for the dead.

Again you may tell of a grave unsought
    Far from the home of youth;
Where the willow weeps as the exile sleeps
    Akin to Mother Earth.
But O! methinks, there’s not a woe
    That can the bosom cleave,
Or as deeply wound, as the lowly mound
    O’er the heart’s deep, anguished grave.

Copyright © 2022 by Mary Weston Fordham. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 15, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“A Reverie” appeared in Magnolia Leaves (Tuskegee Institute, 1897).

Mary Weston Fordham was born around 1843. She ran her own school during the Civil War and worked as a teacher for the American Missionary Association. She was an African American poet and author of Magnolia Leaves (Tuskegee Institute, 1897). She died in 1905.
Magnolia Leaves
(Tuskegee Institute, 1897)


“A Grave” by Marianne Moore
read more
“At the Grave of the Forgotten” by Effie Waller Smith
read more

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