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About this Poem 

As a young adult, Toomer actively participated in a literary society and was acquainted with such prominent figures as the critic Kenneth Burke, the photographer Alfred Steiglitz, and the poet Hart Crane. Around the same time, Toomer became interested in Unitism, a religion founded by the Armenian George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. The doctrine taught unity, transcendence, and mastery of self through yoga: all of which appealed to Toomer, a light-skinned black man preoccupied with establishing an identity in a society of rigid race distinctions.

Storm Ending

Jean Toomer, 1894 - 1967
Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
Great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
Rumbling in the wind,
Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . .
Full-lipped flowers
Bitten by the sun
Bleeding rain
Dripping rain like golden honey—
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.

This poem is in the public domain.

Jean Toomer

Jean Toomer

Born in 1894, Jean Toomer is the author of Cane, a book of prose poetry describing the people and landscape of Georgia

by this poet

poem
Hair--braided chestnut,
     coiled like a lyncher's rope,
Eyes--fagots,
Lips--old scars, or the first red blisters,
Breath--the last sweet scent of cane,
And her slim body, white as the ash
     of black flesh after flame.
poem
     Pour O pour that parting soul in song,
     O pour it in the sawdust glow of night,
     Into the velvet pine-smoke air to-night,
     And let the valley carry it along.
     And let the valley carry it along.

O land and soil, red soil and sweet-gum tree,
So scant of grass, so profligate of pines,
Now just
poem
Black reapers with the sound of steel on stones
Are sharpening scythes.  I see them place the hones
In their hip-pockets as a thing that's done,
And start their silent swinging, one by one.
Black horses drive a mower through the weeds,
And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds.
His belly close to ground