First Section ~~ Poems intended to be read aloud, or chanted.

The Congo

A Study of the Negro Race

I. Their Basic Savagery

Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room,

Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable,

# A deep rolling bass. #

Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table,

Pounded on the table,

Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,

Hard as they were able,

Boom, boom, BOOM,

With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

THEN I had religion, THEN I had a vision.

I could not turn from their revel in derision.

# More deliberate. Solemnly chanted. #

THEN I SAW THE CONGO, CREEPING THROUGH THE BLACK,

CUTTING THROUGH THE FOREST WITH A GOLDEN TRACK.

Then along that riverbank

A thousand miles

Tattooed cannibals danced in files;

Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song

# A rapidly piling climax of speed and racket. #

And a thigh-bone beating on a tin-pan gong.

And "BLOOD" screamed the whistles and the fifes of the warriors,

"BLOOD" screamed the skull-faced, lean witch-doctors,

"Whirl ye the deadly voo-doo rattle,

Harry the uplands,

Steal all the cattle,

Rattle-rattle, rattle-rattle,

Bing.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM,"

# With a philosophic pause. #

A roaring, epic, rag-time tune

From the mouth of the Congo

To the Mountains of the Moon.

Death is an Elephant,

# Shrilly and with a heavily accented metre. #

Torch-eyed and horrible,

Foam-flanked and terrible.

BOOM, steal the pygmies,

BOOM, kill the Arabs,

BOOM, kill the white men,

HOO, HOO, HOO.

# Like the wind in the chimney. #

Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghost

Burning in Hell for his hand-maimed host.

Hear how the demons chuckle and yell

Cutting his hands off, down in Hell.

Listen to the creepy proclamation,

Blown through the lairs of the forest-nation,

Blown past the white-ants' hill of clay,

Blown past the marsh where the butterflies play:--

"Be careful what you do,

# All the o sounds very golden. Heavy accents very heavy.

Light accents very light. Last line whispered. #

Or Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo,

And all of the other

Gods of the Congo,

Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,

Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,

Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you."

II. Their Irrepressible High Spirits

# Rather shrill and high. #

Wild crap-shooters with a whoop and a call

Danced the juba in their gambling-hall

And laughed fit to kill, and shook the town,

And guyed the policemen and laughed them down

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