For the dim regions whence my fathers came
My spirit, bondaged by the body, longs.
Words felt, but never heard, my lips would frame;
My soul would sing forgotten jungle songs.
I would go back to darkness and to peace,
But the great western world holds me in fee,
And I may never hope for full release
While to its alien gods I bend my knee.
Something in me is lost, forever lost,
Some vital thing has gone out of my heart,
And I must walk the way of life a ghost
Among the sons of earth, a thing apart;
For I was born, far from my native clime,
Under the white man's menace, out of time.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 7, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

I must not gaze at them although
   Your eyes are dawning day;
I must not watch you as you go
   Your sun-illumined way;

I hear but I must never heed
   The fascinating note,
Which, fluting like a river reed,
   Comes from your trembling throat;

I must not see upon your face
   Love's softly glowing spark;
For there's the barrier of race,
   You're fair and I am dark.

Published in 1922. This poem is in the public domain.