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Claude McKay (1889-1948)

The Tropics in New York


              1Bananas ripe and green, and ginger-root,
              2    Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
              3And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,
              4    Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

              5Set in the window, bringing memories
              6    Of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,
              7And dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies
              8    In benediction over nun-like hills.

              9My eyes grew dim, and I could no more gaze;
            10    A wave of longing through my body swept,
            11And, hungry for the old, familiar ways,
            12    I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.


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): 8. PS 3525 A24785 H3 Robarts Library.
First publication date: May 1920
Publication date note: Liberator (May 1920).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/4

Rhyme: abab


Other poems by Claude McKay