half-moon is a white child that sleeps upon the tree-tops of the forest. Whitewinds croon its sleep-song:rock a-by baby..Black mother sways, holding a white child on her bosom.when the bough bends..Her breath hums through pine-cones.cradle will fall..Teat moon-children at your breasts,down will come baby..Black mother.Kabnis whirls the chicken by its neck, and throws the head away. Picks up thehopping body, warm, sticky, and hides it in a clump of bushes. He wipes bloodfrom his hands onto the coarse scant grass.
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Kabnis: Thats done. Old Chromo in the big house there will wonder whatsbecome of her pet hen. Well, it’ll teach her a lesson: not to make a hen-coop ofmy quarters. Quarters. Hell of a fine quarters, I’ve got. Five years ago; look atme now. Earth’s child. The earth my mother. God is a profligate red-nosed manabout town. Bastardy; me. A bastard son has got a right to curse his maker.God...Kabnis is about to shake his fists heaven-ward. He looks up, and the night’sbeauty strikes him dumb. He falls to his knees. Sharp stones cut through his thinpajamas. The shock sends a shiver over him. He quivers. Tears mist his eyes. Hewrithes.“God Almighty, dear God, dear Jesus, do not torture me with beauty. Take itaway. Give me an ugly world. Ha, ugly. Stinking like unwashed niggers. DearJesus, do not chain me to myself and set these hills and valleys, heaving withfolk-songs, so close to me that I cannot reach them. There is a radiant beauty inthe night that touches and ... tortures me. Ugh. Hell. Get up, you damn fool.Look around. Whats beautiful there? Hog pens and chicken yards. Dirty redmud. Stinking outhouse. Whats beauty anyway but ugliness if it hurts you? God,he doesnt exist, but nevertheless He is ugly. Hence, what comes from Him isugly. Lynchers and business men, and that cockroach Hanby, especially. Howcome that he gets to be principal of a school? Of the school I’m driven to teachin? God’s handiwork, doubtless. God and Hanby, they belong together. Twogodam moral-spouters. Oh, no, I wont let that emotion come up in me. Staydown. Stay down, I tell you. O Jesus, Thou art beautiful... Come, Ralph, pullyourself together. Curses and adoration dont come from what is sane. Thisloneliness, dumbness, awful, intangible oppression is enough to drive a maninsane. Miles from nowhere. A speck on a Georgia hillside. Jesus, can youimagine it—an atom of dust in agony on a hillside? Thats a spectacle for you.Come, Ralph, old man, pull yourself together.”Kabnis has stiffened. He is conscious now of the night wind, and of how itchills him. He rises. He totters as a man would who for the first time usesartificial limbs. As a completely artificial man would. The large frame house,squatting on brick pillars, where the principal of the school, his wife, and theboarding girls sleep, seems a curious shadow of his mind. He tries, but cannotconvince himself of its reality. His gaze drifts down into the vale, across theswamp, up over the solid dusk bank of pines, and rests, bewildered-like, on thecourt-house tower. It is dull silver in the moonlight. White child that sleeps uponthe top of pines. Kabnis’ mind clears. He sees himself yanked beneath that tower.
He sees white minds, with indolent assumption, juggle justice and a nigger...
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