My father was an Englishman,
‘Whose blood was hot from fathers of warproof’;
My mother, a dark African
Whose blood was sluggish and deplasmatised:
But I, no African or Englishman,
I wander craving for Man's love:
Am spurned by African and Englishman,
And reap the hate I did not sow.
My father felt great Shakespeare's pulse;
My mother danced perpetually to tomtom
Or the xylophone!—But I, displaced,
And neither gong, nor golden verse
Inspire my breast and feet of molten lead.
And these once pirouetting toes.
Decline the ballet and barbaric dance.
I cannot blame my mother's love,
Nor cast a stone against the boy
Whose parents were both Englishmen.
I seek a home neither Africa
Nor British Isles can give, a home
Away from man and beast, who all disown
My kinship with their hearts of stone—
And yet one day another African
Shall seek divorce and separation from his kind
And seek the graces of an English girl:
And then, perhaps, ‘all passion spent’,
And chastened by the voice of faith,
My brother shall be brother to the Englishman,
And I regain my home in Africa,
And yet desire the British Isles, which still
Remains my spiritual home:
No bastard now, no child of Ham,
My blood shall fuse the poles apart
And reconcile my parents’ heart.
This is the vision of the boy
Whose mother was an African,
And heir of all the gold of India,
Egypt and the Western World,
This is the song of the lost mulatto,
And this the prayer of the despised quadroon!