The Connoisseurs
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Written by Celia Thaxter

celiakids003 NH BLACK HISTORY 

Isles of Shoals poet Celia Thaxter was known for her deep connection to Nature, but never for her belief in racial equality. Her sulking view of emancipation following the Civil War simmers in this 1879 poem for children. Here she places the weight of the world on the descendents of enslaved African Americans.

 

 

 

 

READ COMMENTARY IN "Black Heroes, White Voices"

The Connoisseurs
By Celia Thaxter

O look at the horses and people!
How they hurry and trample and fight!
And the smoke blowing over the steeple,--
O look, how the guns shine bright!
See this one, this soldier, he's swinging
His sword over head in the air;
How the shot must be leaping and stinging!
See the men falling down everywhere!
Isn't this what the white folks call the war?
I wonder what they are doing it for.

And there's the big flag flying splendid,
White stars pretty red, pretty blue,
All torn. Do you think 'twill be mended,
And fly out again, good as new?
See the blue coats and gray coats, --I'm sorry
They bleed and they suffer and die;
What made all the fighting and worry?
Can you think of the reason why
They killed each other, the gray and the blue?
O dusky children, it was for you!

Celia Thaxter 
1879

Black children in post-Civil War poem by Celia Thaxter on SeacoastNH.com