Alice Dunbar-Nelson ( -)


The Lights at Carneys Point


O white little lights at Carneys Point,
      You shine so clear oer the Delaware;
When the moon rides high in the silver sky,
      Then you gleam, white gems on the Delaware.
Diamond circlet on a full white throat,
      You laugh your rays on a questioning boat;
Is it peace you dream in your flashing gleam,
      Oer the quiet flow of the Delaware?

And the lights grew dim at the waters brim,
      For the smoke of the mills shredded slow between;
And the smoke was red, as is new bloodshed,
      And the lights went lurid neath the livid screen.

O red little lights at Carneys Point,
      You glower so grim oer the Delaware;
When the moon hides low sombrous clouds below,
      Then you glow like coals oer the Delaware.
Blood red rubies on a throat of fire,
      You flash through the dusk of a funeral pyre;
And there hearth fires red whom you fear and dread
      Oer the turgid flow of the Delaware?

And the lights gleamed gold oer the river cold,
      For the murk of the furnace shed a copper veil;
And the veil was grim at the great clouds brim,
      And the lights went molten, now hot, now pale.

O gold little lights at Carneys Point,
     You gleam so proud oer the Delaware;
When the moon grows wan in the eastering dawn,
      Then you sparkle gold points oer the Delaware.
Aureate filagree on a Croesus brow,
      You hasten the dawn on a gray ships prow.
Light you streams of gold in the grim ships hold
      Oer the sullen flow of the Delaware?

And the lights went gray in the ash of day,
      For a quiet Aurora brought a halcyon balm;
And the sun laughed high in the infinite sky,
      And the lights were forgot in the sweet, sane calm.



Alice Dunbar-Nelson's other poems:
  1. You! Inez!
  2. I Sit and Sew
  3. To the Negro Farmers of the United States
  4. A Pliant
  5. At Bay St. Louis


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