Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
 
The Band of Gideon
 
Joseph S. Cotter, Jr.
 
 
THE BAND of Gideon roam the sky,
The howling wind is their war-cry,
The thunder’s roll is their trump’s peal,
And the lightning’s flash their vengeful steel.
        Each black cloud        5
        Is a fiery steed.
        And they cry aloud
        With each strong deed,
“The sword of the Lord and Gideon.”
 
And men below rear temples high        10
And mock their God with reasons why,
And live in arrogance, sin and shame,
And rape their souls for the world’s good name.
        Each black cloud
        Is a fiery steed.        15
        And they cry aloud
        With each strong deed,
“The sword of the Lord and Gideon.”
 
The band of Gideon roam the sky
And view the earth with baleful eye;        20
In holy wrath they scourge the land
With earth-quake, storm and burning brand.
        Each black cloud
        Is a fiery steed.
        And they cry aloud        25
        With each strong deed,
“The sword of the Lord and Gideon.”
 
The lightnings flash and the thunders roll,
And “Lord have mercy on my soul,”
Cry men as they fall on the stricken sod,        30
In agony searching for their God.
        Each black cloud
        Is a fiery steed.
        And they cry aloud
        With each strong deed,        35
“The sword of the Lord and Gideon.”
 
And men repent and then forget
That heavenly wrath they ever met,
The band of Gideon yet will come
And strike their tongues of blasphemy dumb.        40
        Each black cloud
        Is a fiery steed.
        And they cry aloud
        With each strong deed,
“The sword of the Lord and Gideon.”        45
 

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