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About this poet

Fenton Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1888. He was a forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance writers and self-published three poetry collections: A Little Dreaming (1913), Visions of the Dark (1915), and Songs of the Soil (1916). He died in 1958.

The Banjo Player

There is music in me, the music of a peasant people.
I wander through the levee, picking my banjo and singing my songs of the cabin and the field. At
   the Last Chance Saloon I am as welcome as the violets in March; there is always food and
   drink for me there, and the dimes of those who love honest music. Behind the railroad tracks
   the little children clap their hands and love me as they love Kris Kringle.
But I fear that I am a failure. Last night a woman called me a troubadour. What is a troubadour?

This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on June 30, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive. This poem is in the public domain.

This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on June 30, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive. This poem is in the public domain.

Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1888. He was a forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance writers.

by this poet

poem
                    I
In the evening, love returns,
   Like a wand’rer ’cross the sea;
In the evening, love returns
   With a violet for me;
In the evening, life’s a song,
   And the fields are full of green;
All the stars are golden crowns,
   And the eye of God is keen.

                   II
In the evening,