America

Claude McKay

1889 – 1948
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!

Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,

Giving me strength erect against her hate.

Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.

Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,

I stand within her walls with not a shred

Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.

Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,

And see her might and granite wonders there,

Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,

Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

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One thought on “America

  1. Claude McKay writes some gorgeous lyric.
    His dexterity with form, especially rhythm, as we hear it here, underscores the meaning of the poem. The line “Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer” interrupts the regular pattern, slowing the speed of reading and adding extra emphasis.

    Like

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