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Otto Leland Bohanan

Otto Leland Bohanan was born around 1895 in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Howard University and taught English at the Catholic University. He also worked as a music instructor at DeWitt Clinton High School, and died in 1932.

By This Poet

3

The Dawn’s Awake!

The Dawn’s awake! 
   A flash of smoldering flame and fire
Ignites the East. Then, higher, higher, 
   O’er all the sky so gray, forlorn, 
The torch of gold is borne. 

The Dawn’s awake! 
  The dawn of a thousand dreams and thrills. 
And music singing in the hills 
   A pæen of eternal spring 
Voices the new awakening. 

The Dawn’s awake! 
     Whispers of pent-up harmonies, 
With the mingled fragrance of the trees; 
     Faint snaches of half-forgotten song—
Fathers! Torn and numb,—
   The boon of light we craved, awaited long, 
Has come, has come! 

Go Give the World

I do not crave to have thee mine alone, dear
   Keeping thy charms within my jealous sight;
Go, give the world the blessing of thy beauty,
   That other hearts may share of my delight!

I do not ask, thy love should be mine only
   While others falter through the dreary night;
Go, kiss the tears from some wayfarer’s vision, 
   That other eyes may know the joy of light!

Where days are sad and skies are hung with darkness, 
   Go, send a smile that sunshine may be rife;
Go, give a song, a word of kindly greeting, 
   To ease the sorrow of some lonely life!

Villanelle

How dreary the winds shriek and whine:
    The trembling shadows grow chill. 
O soul of my soul, wert thou mine!

O where are the stars that did shine?
    The moonlight that tinselled the hill?
How dreary the winds shriek and whine! 

Despair ’round my heart doth entwine,
    Far soundeth my cry weird and shrill:
O soul of my soul, wert thou mine!

I’ve quaffed to the dregs the mad wine 
    Of passion, but under my sill
How dreary the winds shriek and whine!

’Tis thine, is the dream so divine, 
    That doth this vain yearning instill; 
O soul of my soul, wert thou mine!

’Tis mine, here to crave and to pine
   For what thou wilt never fulfill;
How dreary the winds shriek and whine!
O soul of my soul, wert thou mine!