I woke up this mornin’
’Bout half-past three.
All the womens in town
Was gathered round me.
 
Sweet gals was a-moanin’,
“Sylvester’s gonna die!”
And a hundred pretty mamas
Bowed their heads to cry.
 
I woke up little later
’Bout half-past fo’,
The doctor ‘n’ undertaker’s
Both at ma do’.
 
Black gals was a-beggin’,
“You can’t leave us here!”
Brown-skins cryin’, “Daddy!
Honey! Baby! Don’t go, dear!”
 
But I felt ma time’s a-comin’,
And I know’d I’s dyin’ fast.
I seed the River Jerden
A-creepin’ muddy past—
But I’s still Sweet Papa ’Vester,
Yes, sir! Long as life do last!
 
So I hollers, “Com’ere, babies,
Fo’ to love yo’ daddy right!”
And I reaches up to hug ’em—
When the Lawd put out the light.
 
Then everything was darkness
In a great ... big ... night.

#AmericanWriters Source: Poetry (October 1931).

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