Lula Johnson's Song

A poem by Edward Smyth Jones

Written in Quinn Chapel, A. M. E. Church, Ninth and Walnut Streets, Louisville, Ky., Wednesday evening, October 16th, 1907, while Miss Lula E. Johnson was singing "Ave Maria."


I have heard the mock-bird singing when the orchards were in bloom,
And the sweetness of his music made the peacock don his plume;
Ay! I've heard cock-robin-redbreast chirping on a sunny day,
And the skylark soaring skywards, merrily sing his festal lay;
And the brown thrush and the bluebird thrill their little treble notes;
All the woodland songsters pouring songs of gladness from their throats -
But not one has touched so deeply, and not one has last so long
As the ever ringing cadence of sweet Lula Johnson's song!

When the breeze has ceased to whisper and the night is soft and still,
Save the awe-provoking shrilling of the ghastly whippoorwill,
As the moonbeams pour down brightly on the woodland, hill and dale,
I oft listen at my window to the queenly nightingale;
But no song of merry woodland, neither hill, nor dale, nor dell,
Has ever smote my bosom, nor has made my spirit swell,
Like the soul-inspiring music that so softly glides along
Oh! so softly and so gently in sweet Lula Johnson's song!

Oh! my soul has caught the music, as it softly floats along -
Ah! the soul-entrancing music of sweet Lula Johnson's song!
If my feet shall ever falter, it shall cheer me on my way;
Ay, sustain and give me comfort, - make my feeble spirit gay.
All we need to have, my brothers, in our war of peace 'gainst strife,
Is the cadence of sweet music sprinkled in to sweeten life;
It will sweeten all our bitters, which now seem so very long,
If we have it soft and gentle, as sweet Lula Johnson's song.

In the lonely hours of midnight, when fair Luna 'gins to pale,
I have heard her songs a-ringing, floating softly on the gale.
And I hope when dawns the morning, when I draw my fleeting breath,
When my friends are gathered 'round me, and my eyes are closed in death -
Ere you throw the sods upon me, on my never-heaving breast,
While my body's lying silent and my soul is seeking rest -
Then I'll wing straight home to glory, for the journey won't be long,
On the spirit-wafting music of sweet Lula Johnson's song!

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