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Poem by James Weldon Johnson


Down by the Carib Sea. 4. The Lottery Girl


"Lottery, lottery,
Take a chance at the lottery?
Take a ticket,
Or, better, take two;
Who knows what the future
May hold for you?
Lottery, lottery,
Take a chance at the lottery?"

Oh, limpid-eyed girl,
I would take every chance,
If only the prize
Were a love-flashing glance
From your fathomless eyes.

"Lottery, lottery,
Try your luck at the lottery?
Consider the size
Of the capital prize,
And take tickets
For the lottery.
Tickets, señor? Tickets, señor?
Take a chance at the lottery?"

Oh, crimson-lipped girl,
With the magical smile,
I would count that the gamble
Were well worth the while,
Not a chance would I miss,
If only the prize
Were a honey-bee kiss
Gathered in sips
From those full-ripened lips,
And a love-flashing glance
From your eyes.



James Weldon Johnson


James Weldon Johnson's other poems:
  1. An Explanation
  2. Brer Rabbit, You's de Cutes' of 'Em All
  3. De Little Pickaninny's Gone to Sleep
  4. And the Greatest of These Is War
  5. Sence You Went Away


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