Friday, July 22, 2016

Poetry Friday: Prayer at Sunrise by James Weldon Johnson

This is so lovely and speaks for itself on this July morning. More of James Weldon Johnson can be found here, at

Prayer at Sunrise
James Weldon Johnson

Now thou art risen, and thy day begun.
How shrink the shrouding mists before thy face,
As up thou spring’st to thy diurnal race!
How darkness chases darkness to the west,
As shades of light on light rise radiant from thy crest!
For thee, great source of strength, emblem of might,
In hours of darkest gloom there is no night.
Thou shinest on though clouds hide thee from sight,
And through each break thou sendest down thy light.

O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,
Give me the strength this one day’s race to run,
Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,
Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.
Light from within, light that will outward shine,
Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,
Joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch;
Great Father of the sun, I ask this much.

("Prayer at Sunrise" is in the public domain.)


The round up is at Books 4 Learning.

P.S. Check out the comments for another gorgeous poem from Johnson. 


tanita✿davis said...

Oh, thank you for this. We just don't hear enough James Weldon Johnson at all - he's just one of those poets Harlem Renaissance/ early civil rights poets whose work is underappreciated!

Karen Edmisten said...

I absolutely love him, Tanita. Yes, he should get far more recognition. He is sublime. Here's another beautiful one:

Deep in the Quiet Wood
James Weldon Johnson

Are you bowed down in heart?
Do you but hear the clashing discords and the din of life?
Then come away, come to the peaceful wood,
Here bathe your soul in silence. Listen! Now,
From out the palpitating solitude
Do you not catch, yet faint, elusive strains?
They are above, around, within you, everywhere.
Silently listen! Clear, and still more clear, they come.
They bubble up in rippling notes, and swell in singing tones.
Now let your soul run the whole gamut of the wondrous scale
Until, responsive to the tonic chord,
It touches the diapason of God’s grand cathedral organ,
Filling earth for you with heavenly peace
And holy harmonies.

Ruth said...

This sounds like a hymn. Has it been set to music? Thanks for sharing it!

Tabatha said...

I shared this poem two weeks ago! Must be something in the sunrise air :-)

Irene Latham said...

Lovely, Karen! The line that speaks to me today is
Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,

Thank you!

Mary Lee said...


Karen Edmisten said...

Ruth, I'm not sure if it's been set to music -- could certainly be gorgeous.
Irene and Mary Lee, thanks for visiting the beautiful words of James Weldon Johnson today.

Tabatha, I missed it at your place! I have been out of the Poetry Friday loop for a couple of weeks. So glad to hear JWJ is getting more circulation this summer. :)

Mitchell Linda said...

Leaves me with a joyful peace. Thank you for sharing this.

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda!