Treasure Island

Claude McKay

(15 September 1889 – 22 May 1948 / Clarendon)

Quotations

  • ''The shivering birds beneath the eaves
    Have sheltered for the night.''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. After the Winter (l. 3-4). . . Poetry of Black America, The; Anthology of the 20th Century. Arnold Adoff, ed. (1973) Harper & Row.
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  • ''Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
    And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
    Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
    I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. America (l. 1-4). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''I have forgotten much, but still remember
    The poinsettia's red, blood-red in warm December.''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. Flame-Heart (l. 9-10). . . Caroling Dusk; an Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets. Countee Cullen, ed. (1927) Harper & Brothers.
  • ''Oh some I know! I have embalmed the days,
    Even the sacred moments when we played,
    All innocent of passion, uncorrupt,
    At noon and evening in the flame-heart's shade.''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican. Flame-Heart (l. 26-29). . . Caroling Dusk; an Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets. Countee Cullen, ed. (1927) Harper & Brothers.
  • ''Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
    Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. If We Must Die (l. 13-14). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''If we must die, O let us nobly die,
    So that our precious blood may not be shed
    In vain; then even the monsters we defy
    Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. If We Must Die (l. 5-8). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls,
    Devoured her with their eager, passionate gaze;
    But looking at her falsely-smiling face,
    I knew her self was not in that strange place.''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. The Harlem Dancer (l. 11-14). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''And, hungry for the old, familiar ways,
    I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. The Tropics in New York (l. 11-12). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''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.''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. The White City (l. 2-4). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''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.''
    Claude McKay (1889-1948), U.S.-Jamaican poet. The White House (l. 5-8). . . Norton Introduction to Poetry, The. J. Paul Hunter, ed. (3d ed., 1986) W. W. Norton & Company.

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White Houses

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,

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