poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

occasions

About this poet

George Marion McClellan was born on September 29, 1860, in Belfast, Tennessee. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and his bachelor of divinity from Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. He was a teacher of Latin and English in Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1899 to 1911, before becoming the principal of Dunbar Public School.

A Congregational minister, teacher, and fiction writer, as well as a poet, McClellan published two poetry collections: Poems (A. M. E. Church Sunday School Union, 1895), which was later retitled Songs of a Southerner (Rockwell and Churchill, 1896), and his noted collection The Path of Dreams (John P. Morton & Co., 1916). He also published the fiction collection Old Greenbottom Inn and Other Stories in 1906, a tragedy about racial mixture and interracial romance. McClellan, though more obscure—as little is known about his life—is frequently compared to his contemporary Paul Laurence Dunbar, another distinguished African American poet of the time. McClellan died in 1934.

A January Dandelion

George Marion McClellan, 1860

All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere
Like desert sand, when the winds blow,
There is each moment sifted through the air,
A powdered blast of January snow.
O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled
By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed,
Was folly growth and blooming over soon.
And yet, thou blasted yellow-coated gem,
Full many a heart has but a common boon
With thee, now freezing on thy slender stem.
When the heart has bloomed by the touch of love’s warm breath
Then left and chilling snow is sifted in,
It still may beat but there is blast and death
To all that blooming life that might have been.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

George Marion McClellan

George Marion McClellan was born on September 29, 1860, in Belfast, Tennessee. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and his bachelor of divinity from Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. He was a teacher of Latin and English in Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1899 to 1911, before becoming the principal of Dunbar Public School.