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Best Famous Claude Mckay Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Claude Mckay poems. This is a select list of the best famous Claude Mckay poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Claude Mckay poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Claude McKay poems.

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by Claude McKay | |

Alfonso Dressing to Wait at Table

 Alfonso is a handsome bronze-hued lad 
Of subtly-changing and surprising parts; 
His moods are storms that frighten and make glad, 
His eyes were made to capture women's hearts.
Down in the glory-hole Alfonso sings An olden song of wine and clinking glasses And riotous rakes; magnificently flings Gay kisses to imaginary lasses.
Alfonso's voice of mellow music thrills Our swaying forms and steals our hearts with joy; And when he soars, his fine falsetto trills Are rarest notes of gold without alloy.
But, O Alfonso! wherefore do you sing Dream-songs of carefree men and ancient places? Soon we shall be beset by clamouring Of hungry and importunate palefaces.


by Claude McKay | |

Birds of Prey

 Their shadow dims the sunshine of our day, 
As they go lumbering across the sky, 
Squawking in joy of feeling safe on high, 
Beating their heavy wings of owlish gray.
They scare the singing birds of earth away As, greed-impelled, they circle threateningly, Watching the toilers with malignant eye, From their exclusive haven--birds of prey.
They swoop down for the spoil in certain might, And fasten in our bleeding flesh their claws.
They beat us to surrender weak with fright, And tugging and tearing without let or pause, They flap their hideous wings in grim delight, And stuff our gory hearts into their maws.


by Claude McKay | |

Courage

 O lonely heart so timid of approach, 
Like the shy tropic flower that shuts its lips 
To the faint touch of tender finger tips: 
What is your word? What question would you broach? 

Your lustrous-warm eyes are too sadly kind 
To mask the meaning of your dreamy tale, 
Your guarded life too exquisitely frail 
Against the daggers of my warring mind.
There is no part of the unyielding earth, Even bare rocks where the eagles build their nest, Will give us undisturbed and friendly rest.
No dewfall softens this vast belt of dearth.
But in the socket-chiseled teeth of strife, That gleam in serried files in all the lands, We may join hungry, understanding hands, And drink our share of ardent love and life.


by Claude McKay | |

Homing Swallows

 Swift swallows sailing from the Spanish main, 
O rain-birds racing merrily away 
From hill-tops parched with heat and sultry plain 
Of wilting plants and fainting flowers, say-- 

When at the noon-hour from the chapel school 
The children dash and scamper down the dale, 
Scornful of teacher's rod and binding rule 
Forever broken and without avail, 

Do they still stop beneath the giant tree 
To gather locusts in their childish greed, 
And chuckle when they break the pods to see 
The golden powder clustered round the seed?


by Claude McKay | |

I Know My Soul

 I plucked my soul out of its secret place, 
And held it to the mirror of my eye, 
To see it like a star against the sky, 
A twitching body quivering in space, 
A spark of passion shining on my face.
And I explored it to determine why This awful key to my infinity Conspires to rob me of sweet joy and grace.
And if the sign may not be fully read, If I can comprehend but not control, I need not gloom my days with futile dread, Because I see a part and not the whole.
Contemplating the strange, I'm comforted By this narcotic thought: I know my soul.


by Claude McKay | |

In Bondage

 I would be wandering in distant fields 
Where man, and bird, and beast, lives leisurely, 
And the old earth is kind, and ever yields 
Her goodly gifts to all her children free; 
Where life is fairer, lighter, less demanding, 
And boys and girls have time and space for play 
Before they come to years of understanding-- 
Somewhere I would be singing, far away.
For life is greater than the thousand wars Men wage for it in their insatiate lust, And will remain like the eternal stars, When all that shines to-day is drift and dust But I am bound with you in your mean graves, O black men, simple slaves of ruthless slaves.


by Claude McKay | |

Jasmines

 Your scent is in the room.
Swiftly it overwhelms and conquers me! Jasmines, night jasmines, perfect of perfume, Heavy with dew before the dawn of day! Your face was in the mirror.
I could see You smile and vanish suddenly away, Leaving behind the vestige of a tear.
Sad suffering face, from parting grown so dear! Night jasmines cannot bloom in this cold place; Without the street is wet and weird with snow; The cold nude trees are tossing to and fro; Too stormy is the night for your fond face; For your low voice too loud the wind's mad roar.
But, oh, your scent is here--jasmines that grow Luxuriant, clustered round your cottage door!


by Claude McKay | |

The Night-Fire

 No engines shrieking rescue storm the night, 
And hose and hydrant cannot here avail; 
The flames laugh high and fling their challenging light, 
And clouds turn gray and black from silver-pale.
The fire leaps out and licks the ancient walls, And the big building bends and twists and groans.
A bar drops from its place; a rafter falls Burning the flowers.
The wind in frenzy moans.
The watchers gaze, held wondering by the fire, The dwellers cry their sorrow to the crowd, The flames beyond themselves rise higher, higher, To lose their glory in the frowning cloud, Yielding at length the last reluctant breath.
And where life lay asleep broods darkly death.


by Claude McKay | |

On the Road

 Roar of the rushing train fearfully rocking, 
Impatient people jammed in line for food, 
The rasping noise of cars together knocking, 
And worried waiters, some in ugly mood, 
Crowding into the choking pantry hole 
To call out dishes for each angry glutton 
Exasperated grown beyond control, 
From waiting for his soup or fish or mutton.
At last the station's reached, the engine stops; For bags and wraps the red-caps circle round; From off the step the passenger lightly hops, And seeks his cab or tram-car homeward bound; The waiters pass out weary, listless, glum, To spend their tips on harlots, cards and rum.


by Claude McKay | |

The Lynching

 His Spirit in smoke ascended to high heaven.
His father, by the cruelest way of pain, Had bidden him to his bosom once again; The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
All night a bright and solitary star (Perchance the one that ever guided him, Yet gave him up at last to Fate's wild whim) Hung pitifully o'er the swinging char.
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view The ghastly body swaying in the sun The women thronged to look, but never a one Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue; And little lads, lynchers that were to be, Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.


by Claude McKay | |

The Tropics in New York

 Bananas ripe and green, and ginger-root,
Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,
Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

Set in the window, bringing memories
Of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,
And dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies
In benediction over nun-like hills.
My eyes grew dim, and I could no more gaze; A wave of longing through my body swept, And, hungry for the old, familiar ways, I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.


by Claude McKay | |

The Plateau

 It was the silver, heart-enveloping view 
Of the mysterious sea-line far away, 
Seen only on a gleaming gold-white day, 
That made it dear and beautiful to you.
And Laura loved it for the little hill, Where the quartz sparkled fire, barren and dun, Whence in the shadow of the dying sun, She contemplated Hallow's wooden mill.
While Danny liked the sheltering high grass, In which he lay upon a clear dry night, To hear and see, screened skilfully from sight, The happy lovers of the valley pass.
But oh! I loved it for the big round moon That swung out of the clouds and swooned aloft, Burning with passion, gloriously soft, Lighting the purple flowers of fragrant June.


by Claude McKay | |

The White City

 I will not toy with it nor bend an inch.
Deep in the secret chambers of my heart I muse my life-long hate, and without flinch I bear it nobly as I live my part.
My being would be a skeleton, a shell, If this dark Passion that fills my every mood, And makes my heaven in the white world's hell, Did not forever feed me vital blood.
I see the mighty city through a mist-- The strident trains that speed the goaded mass, The poles and spires and towers vapor-kissed, The fortressed port through which the great ships pass, The tides, the wharves, the dens I contemplate, Are sweet like wanton loves because I hate.


by Claude McKay | |

The White House

 Your door is shut against my tightened face,
And I am sharp as steel with discontent;
But I possess the courage and the grace
To bear my anger proudly and unbent.
The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet, A chafing savage, down the decent street; And passion rends my vitals as I pass, Where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass.
Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour, Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw, And find in it the superhuman power To hold me to the letter of your law! Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate Against the potent poison of your hate.


by Claude McKay | |

The Wild Goat

 O you would clothe me in silken frocks 
And house me from the cold, 
And bind with bright bands my glossy locks, 
And buy me chains of gold; 

And give me--meekly to do my will-- 
The hapless sons of men:-- 
But the wild goat bounding on the barren hill 
Droops in the grassy pen.


by Claude McKay | |

Thirst

 My spirit wails for water, water now! 
My tongue is aching dry, my throat is hot 
For water, fresh rain shaken from a bough, 
Or dawn dews heavy in some leafy spot.
My hungry body's burning for a swim In sunlit water where the air is cool, As in Trout Valley where upon a limb The golden finch sings sweetly to the pool.
Oh water, water, when the night is done, When day steals gray-white through the windowpane, Clear silver water when I wake, alone, All impotent of parts, of fevered brain; Pure water from a forest fountain first, To wash me, cleanse me, and to quench my thirst!


by Claude McKay | |

Dawn in New York

 The Dawn! The Dawn! The crimson-tinted, comes 
Out of the low still skies, over the hills, 
Manhattan's roofs and spires and cheerless domes! 
The Dawn! My spirit to its spirit thrills.
Almost the mighty city is asleep, No pushing crowd, no tramping, tramping feet.
But here and there a few cars groaning creep Along, above, and underneath the street, Bearing their strangely-ghostly burdens by, The women and the men of garish nights, Their eyes wine-weakened and their clothes awry, Grotesques beneath the strong electric lights.
The shadows wane.
The Dawn comes to New York.
And I go darkly-rebel to my work.


by Claude McKay | |

December 1919

 Last night I heard your voice, mother,
The words you sang to me
When I, a little barefoot boy,
Knelt down against your knee.
And tears gushed from my heart, mother, And passed beyond its wall, But though the fountain reached my throat The drops refused to fall.
'Tis ten years since you died, mother, Just ten dark years of pain, And oh, I only wish that I Could weep just once again.


by Claude McKay | |

Enslaved

 Oh when I think of my long-suffering race,
For weary centuries despised, oppressed,
Enslaved and lynched, denied a human place
In the great life line of the Christian West;
And in the Black Land disinherited,
Robbed in the ancient country of its birth,
My heart grows sick with hate, becomes as lead,
For this my race that has no home on earth.
Then from the dark depths of my soul I cry To the avenging angel to consume The white man's world of wonders utterly: Let it be swallowed up in earth's vast womb, Or upward roll as sacrificial smoke To liberate my people from its yoke!


by Claude McKay | |

Flower of Love

 The perfume of your body dulls my sense.
I want nor wine nor weed; your breath alone Suffices.
In this moment rare and tense I worship at your breast.
The flower is blown, The saffron petals tempt my amorous mouth, The yellow heart is radiant now with dew Soft-scented, redolent of my loved South; O flower of love! I give myself to you.
Uncovered on your couch of figured green, Here let us linger indivisible.
The portals of your sanctuary unseen Receive my offering, yielding unto me.
Oh, with our love the night is warm and deep! The air is sweet, my flower, and sweet the flute Whose music lulls our burning brain to sleep, While we lie loving, passionate and mute.