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Short poem

Claude McKay (1889-1948)


              1To clasp you now and feel your head close-pressed,
              2Scented and warm against my beating breast;

              3To whisper soft and quivering your name,
              4And drink the passion burning in your frame;

              5To lie at full length, taut, with cheek to cheek,
              6And tease your mouth with kisses till you speak

              7Love words, mad words, dream words, sweet senseless words,
              8Melodious like notes of mating birds;

              9To hear you ask if I shall love always,
            10And myself answer: Till the end of days;

            11To feel your easeful sigh of happiness
            12When on your trembling lips I murmur: Yes;

            13It is so sweet. We know it is not true.
            14What matters it? The night must shed her dew.

            15We know it is not true, but it is sweet --
            16The poem with this music is complete.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Harlem Shadows: The Poems of Claude McKay, with an introduction by Max Eastman (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922): 73-74. PS 3525 A24785 H3 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1922
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/4

Form: couplets

Other poems by Claude McKay