I ply with all the cunning of my art

This little thing, and with consummate care

I fashion it—so that when I depart,

Those who come after me shall find it fair

And beautiful. It must be free of flaws—

Pointing no laborings of weary hands;

And there must be no flouting of the laws

Of beauty—as the artist understands.


Through passion, yearnings infinite—yet dumb—

I lift you from the depths of my own mind

And gild you with my soul’s white heat to plumb

The souls of future men. I leave behind

This thing that in return this solace gives:

“He who creates true beauty ever lives.”

  • Marcus B. Christian, "The Craftsman" from The Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970. Copyright © 1970 by Marcus B. Christian.  Reprinted by permission of University of New Orleans, Marcus  B. Christian Papers, Earl K. Long Library.

  • Source: The Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970 (Doubleday, 1970)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
Annabelle Emuze
2015 IL POL Champion