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Poem by James Weldon Johnson


Answer to Prayer


Der ain't no use in sayin' de Lawd won't answer prah;
If you knows how to ax Him, I knows He's bound to heah.

De trouble is, some people don't ax de proper way,
Den w'en dey git's no answer dey doubts de use to pray.

You got to use egzac'ly de 'spressions an' de words
To show dat 'tween yo' faith an' works, you 'pends on works two-thirds.

Now, one time I remember--jes how long I won't say--
I thought I'd like a turkey to eat on Chris'mus day.

Fu' weeks I dreamed 'bout turkeys, a-struttin' in der pride;
But seed no way to get one--widout de Lawd pervide.

An' so I went to prayin', I pray'd wid all my might;
"Lawd, sen' _to_ me a turkey." I pray'd bofe day an' night.

"Lawd, sen' _to_ me a turkey, a big one if you please."
I 'clar to heaben I pray'd so much I mos' wore out ma knees.

I pray'd dat prah so often, I pray'd dat prah so long,
Yet didn't git no turkey, I know'd 'twas sump'n wrong.

So on de night 'fore Chris'mus w'en I got down to pray,
"Lawd, sen' _me_ to a turkey," I had de sense to say.

"Lawd, sen' _me_ to a turkey." I know dat prah was right,
An' it was sholy answer'd; I got de bird dat night.



James Weldon Johnson


James Weldon Johnson's other poems:
  1. And the Greatest of These Is War
  2. Sence You Went Away
  3. Dat Gal o' Mine
  4. 'Possum Song
  5. The Ghost of Deacon Brown


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