Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
A Butterfly in Church
George Marion McClellan
WHAT dost thou here, thou shining, sinless thing,
With many colored hues and shapely wing?
Why quit the open field and summer air
To flutter here? Thou hast no need of prayer.
’Tis meet that we, who this great structure built,        5
Should come to be redeemed and washed from guilt,
For we this gilded edifice within
Are come, with erring hearts and stains of sin.
But thou art free from guilt as God on high;
Go, seek the blooming waste and open sky,        10
And leave us here our secret woes to bear,
Confessionals and agonies of prayer.


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