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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Spring in New Hampshire

Too green the springing April grass,
Too blue the silver-speckled sky,
For me to linger here, alas,
While happy winds go laughing by,
Wasting the golden hours indoors,
Washing windows and scrubbing floors.

Too wonderful the April night,
Too faintly sweet the first May flowers,

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