The Flower at My Window

Aristotle declared that “Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.”

And with that quote in mind, I looked back into public domain poetry in search of the voices of poets from past generations that will add to my poetry experience. Today, I am reciting Lucian Bottow Watkins’s poem, “The Flower at My Window.”

Lucian B. Watkins was an African American poet anthologized in The Book of American Negro Poetry. Born in 1878 (some say 1879), in Chesterfield, Virginia he was the author of Voices of Solitude (Donahue & Company, 1903). He worked as a teacher and served in World War I.

Lucian Watkins’ passion for poetry was illustrated in a letter dated August 13, 1919 sent to W. E. B. Du Bois which is found at this link.

Join me in reciting the words of Lucian B. Watkins, The Flower at My Window.

The Flower at My Window

Lucian B. Watkins – 1878-1920

O! my heart now feels so cheerful as I go with footsteps light
In the daily toil of my dear home;
And I’ll tell to you the secret that now makes my life so bright—
There’s a flower at my window in full bloom.

It is radiant in the sunshine, and so cheerful after rain;
And it wafts upon the air its sweet perfume.
It is very, very lovely! May its beauties never wane—
This dear flower at my window in full bloom.

Nature has so clothed it in such glorious array,
And it does so cheer our home, and hearts illume;
Its dear mem’ry I will cherish though the flower fade away—
This dear flower at my window in full bloom.

Oft I gaze upon this flower with its blossoms pure and white.
And I think as I behold its gay costume,
While through life we all are passing may our lives be always bright
Like this flower at my window in full bloom.

21 Comments »

  1. What a lovely, simple joy…and brings to mind Keats’ Endymion

    A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness…

    Thank you for always bringing the beauty 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I remember that poem vaguely from high school so had to check it out, Mary Jo. What I didn’t know was that it was “is divided into four books, each approximately 1,000 lines long.” And that it was not well received by critics. I always smile with I hear the “critics” say one thing and then, history has the final say on the matter. Whenever I take a critical stand on a painting, book, poem, music, I ask myself, would I have rejected Monet’s or Van Gogh’s work if I had lived in that time. Keeps me from passing quick judgments. Thank you for joining me at the window with the flower in full bloom. Hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. This is a really good look into history-Virginia, a Black Poet in a very interesting time in American history. So good to hear you read poetry, you have an excellent tone of voice for it. I listened to the poem twice and heard that the flower was white. I liked the pink one that you chose for this poem.. Thank you for this series, and for your choice of poems, I look forward to each one. Aristotle was a fan of poetry! ! !

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Lovely poem, Rebecca, and a lovely recital of it. Thanks for the continuing education one gets from reading your posts; I hadn’t been familiar with Lucian B. Watkins. A shame he wasn’t mentioned in the often-white-centric history books and poetry anthologies I was assigned in high school and as a college English major.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I was so excited to find Lucian’s poignant letter where he poured out his heart about poetry. I am loving this look back into public domain – it is opening my understanding how explore the unknown. It is a work in progress which will never finish, a comforting thought indeed. We live in a global world that offers us limitless opportunities to view diverse perspective. I am beyond excited! Thank you for sharing this journey with me. What an adventure we are on!!

      Liked by 4 people

    • I hadn’t heard of Lucian B. Watkins either. Now that you mention it, I would have loved to have taken a special topics course in the “minor” African-American poets. I’m being introduced to their work now through my Poem-a-Day subscription from the Academy of American Poets.

      Liked by 2 people

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