Melvin Beaunorus Tolson

(February 6, 1898 – August 29, 1966 / Moberly, Missouri)

The Birth of John Henry

The night John Henry is born an ax
of lightning splits the sky,
and a hammer of thunder pounds the earth,
and the eagles and panthers cry!

John Henry—he says to his Ma and Pa:
"Get a gallon of barleycorn.
I want to start right, like a he-man child,
the night that I am born!"

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