- The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night.
- After the Winter, l. 3-4
- 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.
- The White House, l. 5-8
- Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate
Against the potent poison of your hate.
- The White House, l. 13-14
- 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!
- If We Must Die, l. 5-8
- 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!
- America, l. 1-4
- 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.
- The Harlem Dancer, l. 11-14
- 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.
- The White City, l. 2-4
- I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsiana's red, blood-red in warm December.
- Flame-Heart, l. 9-10
- 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.
- Flame-Heart, l. 26-29
- Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
- If We Must Die, l. 13-14
- And, hungry for the old, familiar ways,
I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.
- The Tropics in New York, l. 11-12
- I know the dark delight of being strange,
The penalty of difference in the crowd,
The loneliness of wisdom among fools
- Complete Poems, University of Illinois Press, 2004, p. 348
- Idealism is like a castle in the air if it is not based on a solid foundation of social and political realism.
- If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything.
- Nations, like plants and human beings, grow. And if the development is thwarted they are dwarfed and overshadowed.
- Upon the clothes behind the tenement, That hang like ghosts suspended from the lines, Linking each flat, but to each indifferent, Incongruous and strange the moonlight shines.