Claude McKay (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican writer and communist and part of the Harlem Renaissance.
- The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsiana's red, blood-red in warm December.
- 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.
- Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
- 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