O Sea, That Knowest Thy Strength

Effie Lee Newsome was a figure of the Harlem Renaissance who mostly wrote children's poem and parables about being young and black in the 1920s. She contributed to The Crisis, the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and had a clear influence on her fellow poets.

Hast thou been known to sing,
O sea, that knowest thy strength?
Hast thou been known to sing?
Thy voice, can it rejoice?
Naught save great sorrowing,
To me, thy sounds incessant
Do express, naught save great sorrowing.
Thy lips, they daily kiss the sand,
In wanton mockery.
Deep in thine awful heart
Thou dost not love the land.
Thou dost not love the land.
O sea, that knowest thy strength.

"These sands, these listless, helpless,
Sun-gold sands, I'll play with these,
Or crush them in my white-fanged hands
For leagues, to please
The thing in me that is the Sea,
Intangible, untamed,
Untamed and wild,
And wild and weird and strong!"

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