Thanking God

by William Stanley Braithwaite

The way folks had of thanking God
     He found annoying, till he thought
Of flame and coolness in the sod—
     Of balms and blessings that they wrought.

And so the habit grew, and then—
     Of when and how he did not care—
He found his God as other men
     The mystic verb in a grammar of prayer.

He never knelt, nor uttered words—
     His laughter felt no chastening rod;
“My being,” he said, “is a choir of birds,
     And all my senses are thanking God.”

Anthologized in Negro Poets and their Poems (1923).