Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
In the Barn
By Josephine Pinckney
THE SUN, in wanton pride,
Drenches the country-side
With spilt gold from his old autumnal store.
But Scipio sits within the barn’s thick gloom,
The merest crack of light coming in the door—        5
Sits and husks the corn long after working hours.
Vainly for him the autumn bloom
Is on the flowers.
The inside of the barn is velvet black
Except where a gold thread runs along a crack;        10
And the inquisitive sun thrusts points of light
Through chink and cranny, piercing the midnight.
The dry husks rattle, and his shuffling feet
Keep time to what he sings—an elusive tune,
Husky and monotonous and sweet,        15
Scarce audible, so softly does he croon
To keep away the evil eye:
            Who is livin’
            Got to die.        20
Across the evening fields the setting sun
Richly intones toil done.
The home-bound negroes idle in the lanes,
Gossiping as they go; coarse laughter falls
On the resonant air; from a far field cat-calls        25
Float over, and a banjo’s strains.
Shucking corn in the darkness, Scipio in reply
Sits and sings his mournful, husky stave:
            Wid a silver spade
            You kin dig my grave;        30
            Who is livin’
            Got to die.

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