I feel myself in need
Of the inspiring strains of ancient lore,
My heart to lift, my empty mind to feed,
And all the world explore.
I know that I am old
And never can recover what is past,
But for the future may some light unfold
And soar from ages blast.
I feel resolved to try,
My wish to prove, my calling to pursue,
Or mount up from the earth into the sky,
To show what Heaven can do.
My genius from a boy,
Has fluttered like a bird within my heart;
But could not thus confined her powers employ,
Impatient to depart.
She like a restless bird,
Would spread her wing, her power to be unfurl’d,
And let her songs be loudly heard,
And dart from world to world.
Source: African-American Poetry of the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (University of Illinois Press, 1992)
Poems by George Moses Horton