"The Creation"

Today in my parish we observed the National African American Read-In with a recitation of James Weldon Johnson's poem "The Creation".

Here are the closing stanzas, picking up after God's creation of the "Fishes and fowls / And beasts and birds / [who] Swam the rivers and the seas, / Roamed the forests and the woods, / And split the air with their wings":

Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that he had made.
He looked at his sun,
And he looked at his moon,
And he looked at his little stars;
He looked on his world
With all its living things,
And God said: I’m lonely still.

Then God sat down—
On the side of a hill where he could think;
By a deep, wide river he sat down;
With his head in his hands,
God thought and thought,
Till he thought:
I’ll make me a man!

Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till he shaped it in is his own image;

Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
Amen. Amen.

You can read the whole poem here.

Image credit: Stworzenie Adama, by Tadeusz Kowalski, via Wiki Commons

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John Schwenkler is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Florida State University.

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