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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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Written by Claude McKay |


 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.

Written by Claude McKay |


 Into the furnace let me go alone;
Stay you without in terror of the heat.
I will go naked in--for thus ''tis sweet-- Into the weird depths of the hottest zone.
I will not quiver in the frailest bone, You will not note a flicker of defeat; My heart shall tremble not its fate to meet, My mouth give utterance to any moan.
The yawning oven spits forth fiery spears; Red aspish tongues shout wordlessly my name.
Desire destroys, consumes my mortal fears, Transforming me into a shape of flame.
I will come out, back to your world of tears, A stronger soul within a finer frame.

Written by Claude McKay |


 There was a time when in late afternoon 
The four-o'clocks would fold up at day's close 
Pink-white in prayer, and 'neath the floating moon 
I lay with them in calm and sweet repose.
And in the open spaces I could sleep, Half-naked to the shining worlds above; Peace came with sleep and sleep was long and deep, Gained without effort, sweet like early love.
But now no balm--nor drug nor weed nor wine-- Can bring true rest to cool my body's fever, Nor sweeten in my mouth the acid brine, That salts my choicest drink and will forever.

More great poems below...

Written by Claude McKay |


 For the dim regions whence my fathers came 
My spirit, bondaged by the body, longs.
Words felt, but never heard, my lips would frame; My soul would sing forgotten jungle songs.
I would go back to darkness and to peace, But the great western world holds me in fee, And I may never hope for full release While to its alien gods I bend my knee.
Something in me is lost, forever lost, Some vital thing has gone out of my heart, And I must walk the way of life a ghost Among the sons of earth, a thing apart; For I was born, far from my native clime, Under the white man's menace, out of time.

Written by Claude McKay |

Rest in Peace

 No more for you the city's thorny ways, 
The ugly corners of the Negro belt; 
The miseries and pains of these harsh days 
By you will never, never again be felt.
No more, if still you wander, will you meet With nights of unabating bitterness; They cannot reach you in your safe retreat, The city's hate, the city's prejudice! 'Twas sudden--but your menial task is done, The dawn now breaks on you, the dark is over, The sea is crossed, the longed-for port is won; Farewell, oh, fare you well! my friend and lover.

Written by Claude McKay |


 The sun sought thy dim bed and brought forth light, 
The sciences were sucklings at thy breast; 
When all the world was young in pregnant night 
Thy slaves toiled at thy monumental best.
Thou ancient treasure-land, thou modern prize, New peoples marvel at thy pyramids! The years roll on, thy sphinx of riddle eyes Watches the mad world with immobile lids.
The Hebrews humbled them at Pharaoh's name.
Cradle of Power! Yet all things were in vain! Honor and Glory, Arrogance and Fame! They went.
The darkness swallowed thee again.
Thou art the harlot, now thy time is done, Of all the mighty nations of the sun.

Written 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.

Written by Claude McKay |

After the Winter

 Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning's white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night, 
We'll turn our faces southward, love,
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire to shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.
And we will seek the quiet hill Where towers the cotton tree, And leaps the laughing crystal rill, And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there Beside an open glade, With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near, And ferns that never fade.

Written by Claude McKay |

The Snow Fairy


Throughout the afternoon I watched them there, 
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky, 
Whirling fantastic in the misty air, 
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night, As though in heaven there was revolt and riot, And they, frail things had taken panic flight Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.
I went to bed and rose at early dawn To see them huddled together in a heap, Each merged into the other upon the lawn, Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.
The sun shone brightly on them half the day, By night they stealthily had stol'n away.
II And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you Who came to me upon a winter's night, When snow-sprites round my attic window flew, Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light.
My heart was like the weather when you came, The wanton winds were blowing loud and long; But you, with joy and passion all aflame, You danced and sang a lilting summer song.
I made room for you in my little bed, Took covers from the closet fresh and warm, A downful pillow for your scented head, And lay down with you resting in my arm.
You went with Dawn.
You left me ere the day, The lonely actor of a dreamy play.

Written by Claude McKay |


 Your body was a sacred cell always, 
A jewel that grew dull in garish light, 
An opal which beneath my wondering gaze 
Gleamed rarely, softly throbbing in the night.
I touched your flesh with reverential hands, For you were sweet and timid like a flower That blossoms out of barren tropic sands, Shedding its perfume in one golden hour.
You yielded to my touch with gentle grace, And though my passion was a mighty wave That buried you beneath its strong embrace, You were yet happy in the moment's grave.
Still more than passion consummate to me, More than the nuptials immemorial sung, Was the warm thrill that melted me to see Your clean brown body, beautiful and young; The joy in your maturity at length, The peace that filled my soul like cooling wine, When you responded to my tender strength, And pressed your heart exulting into mine.
How shall I with such memories of you In coarser forms of love fruition find? No, I would rather like a ghost pursue The fairy phantoms of my lonely mind.

Written by Claude McKay |

Morning Joy

 At night the wide and level stretch of wold, 
Which at high noon had basked in quiet gold, 
Far as the eye could see was ghostly white; 
Dark was the night save for the snow's weird light.
I drew the shades far down, crept into bed; Hearing the cold wind moaning overhead Through the sad pines, my soul, catching its pain, Went sorrowing with it across the plain.
At dawn, behold! the pall of night was gone, Save where a few shrubs melancholy, lone, Detained a fragile shadow.
Golden-lipped The laughing grasses heaven's sweet wine sipped.
The sun rose smiling o'er the river's breast, And my soul, by his happy spirit blest, Soared like a bird to greet him in the sky, And drew out of his heart Eternity.

Written by Claude McKay |

The Spanish Needle

 Lovely dainty Spanish needle 
With your yellow flower and white, 
Dew bedecked and softly sleeping, 
Do you think of me to-night? 

Shadowed by the spreading mango, 
Nodding o'er the rippling stream, 
Tell me, dear plant of my childhood, 
Do you of the exile dream? 

Do you see me by the brook's side 
Catching crayfish 'neath the stone, 
As you did the day you whispered: 
Leave the harmless dears alone? 

Do you see me in the meadow 
Coming from the woodland spring 
With a bamboo on my shoulder 
And a pail slung from a string? 

Do you see me all expectant 
Lying in an orange grove, 
While the swee-swees sing above me, 
Waiting for my elf-eyed love? 

Lovely dainty Spanish needle, 
Source to me of sweet delight, 
In your far-off sunny southland 
Do you dream of me to-night?

Written by Claude McKay |

One Year After


Not once in all our days of poignant love, 
Did I a single instant give to thee 
My undivided being wholly free.
Not all thy potent passion could remove The barrier that loomed between to prove The full supreme surrendering of me.
Oh, I was beaten, helpless utterly Against the shadow-fact with which I strove.
For when a cruel power forced me to face The truth which poisoned our illicit wine, That even I was faithless to my race Bleeding beneath the iron hand of thine, Our union seemed a monstrous thing and base! I was an outcast from thy world and mine.
II Adventure-seasoned and storm-buffeted, I shun all signs of anchorage, because The zest of life exceeds the bound of laws.
New gales of tropic fury round my head Break lashing me through hours of soulful dread; But when the terror thins and, spent, withdraws, Leaving me wondering awhile, I pause-- But soon again the risky ways I tread! No rigid road for me, no peace, no rest, While molten elements run through my blood; And beauty-burning bodies manifest Their warm, heart-melting motions to be wooed; And passion boldly rising in my breast, Like rivers of the Spring, lets loose its flood.

Written by Claude McKay |

The Easter Flower

 Far from this foreign Easter damp and chilly 
My soul steals to a pear-shaped plot of ground, 
Where gleamed the lilac-tinted Easter lily 
Soft-scented in the air for yards around; 

Alone, without a hint of guardian leaf! 
Just like a fragile bell of silver rime, 
It burst the tomb for freedom sweet and brief 
In the young pregnant year at Eastertime; 

And many thought it was a sacred sign, 
And some called it the resurrection flower; 
And I, a pagan, worshiped at its shrine, 
Yielding my heart unto its perfumed power.

Written by Claude McKay |

The Castaways

 The vivid grass with visible delight 
Springing triumphant from the pregnant earth, 
The butterflies, and sparrows in brief flight 
Chirping and dancing for the season's birth, 
The dandelions and rare daffodils 
That touch the deep-stirred heart with hands of gold, 
The thrushes sending forth their joyous trills,-- 
Not these, not these did I at first behold! 
But seated on the benches daubed with green, 
The castaways of life, a few asleep, 
Some withered women desolate and mean, 
And over all, life's shadows dark and deep.
Moaning I turned away, for misery I have the strength to bear but not to see.