Estate sales are inexpensive way to acquire old high quality books. We picked up The Treasury of American Poetry put together by Nancy Sullivan at such an estate sale in southeastern NM USA.
Below is a poem titled We Raise the Wheat likely written by a Black slave around Civil War times. The closing phrase in this slow reading rhyming effort is We skim de pot,Dey gib us the liquor,And say dat’s good enough for nigger.
This poem detailing the oppression and mistreatment of negros, came from the A Sampler of Hymns, Spirituals and Songs section of the complilation by Sullivan which includes the work of Anne Bradstreet, Ezra Pound,Elizabeth Bishop,Gwendolyn Brooks,May Swenson,Anne Sexton,Adrienne Rich,Sylvia Plath,June Jordan, and Erica Jong.
A peculiar phrase from Sullivan’s introduction: Collectively, they(poems in this 838 page book) shape a unique and haphazard crown for a monarchless country. Nancy seems to detest countries with Kings and Queens.