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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 |

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 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 |

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 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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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.