Thursday, February 17, 2022

Jean Toomer (#poem)



Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb,
And I, a drone,
Lying on my back,
Lipping honey,
Getting drunk with silver honey,
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.

-Jean Toomer

This is from Cane, the first book, a novel, of Jean Toomer (1894-1967). It came out in 1923 and is told in a combination of poetry and prose. 

Toomer was the grandson of P. B. S. Pinchback, the first African-American governor of a U.S. state, Louisiana, in the 1870s.


  1. This sounds like an intriguing book, an experimental book.

    1. I was just rereading the introduction & it calls it a 'High Modernist' masterpiece. And I suppose that's true... ;-) But it also is actually pretty easy reading, not like some of those other high modernist masterpieces!

  2. I've been wanting to explore Toomer's work for awhile now. There's a Norton edition...extra tempting.

    1. There's been something in the air. Was there an article about him I read? I'm not sure. But I've been thinking about rereading this lately. It's been years since I last read it.